Overtime Heartbreaker Ends Seward’s Season

KSCB News - March 6, 2015 7:00 am

There have been many ups and downs for the Seward County Saints on the hardwood this season and Thursday night in Koch Arena in Wichita was no different. In the Region VI Tournament Quarterfinals against #7 Butler, the Saints had the high of holding a lead for nearly the entire second half before the Grizzlies hit a pair of free throws with 6.2 seconds left to tie the game and eventually send it to overtime tied at 71. In the extra period, it was all Grizzlies, as a depleted and undermanned Saints lineup struggled to keep pace with the team that unseated them as Jayhawk West Champs this year and Butler went on to knock off Seward 87-77 to end the Saints season at 15-16.

Playing to earn the third spot in the Region VI Tournament Final Four on Thursday night in Wichita, Seward jumped out to an early lead on top seeded Butler, taking a 6-5 lead to get things going. The Grizzlies took their first lead of the game at the 16:30 mark and opened the score up to 20-10 with 12:00 remaining in the half. Butler remained up big as Seward had trouble stopping them on the boards and turned the ball over three times in five possessions to see the Grizzlies go on top 26-16. The Saints roared back though and got five straight points from Kevin Sims to draw to within two and a pair of free throws from the freshmen later on to put them back up by one 32-31 with 3:51 to go in the period. Butler took the lead back with a bucket but a straight ahead three from Darius Polley gave Seward a two point lead in the final minute of the half. Butler would make a pair of free throws before the half and after 20 minutes of action, the Saints and Grizzlies were deadlocked at 38.

Seward shot 46% from both the field and three point line in the first half while Butler shot 42%. However, Butler held a decisive advantage on the boards, outscoring Seward 17-2 on second chance points in the half.

Early in the second half, a blocked shot, rebound, and coast to coast score by the Saints Mitchell Packard put Seward up four and the guys in green would hold that lead to the 14:48 mark with the score 52-48. A nice drive by Derek Dorn and kickout to Tyreke Sharp for three gave the Saints a seven point lead and left the top seeded Grizzlies and their fans shocked. The Saints put things on cruise control a little bit too early and allowed the Grizzlies to stick around. Seward remained up by four with 9:53 to go but as the clock seemed to tick in slow motion, Butler crawled back into it and snuck up to within just one of the Saints at 59-58 with 7:21 to go. Evan Allen scored on two straight possessions on the inside for Seward to put the Saints up 65-61 with 4:31 remaining, but a quick 4-0 Butler run tied the score at 65 with 2:34 left. There was no scoring for the next minute when Polley drove and made a wild shot to give the Saints a two point lead again with 1:35 left but Butler answered again to tie the score at 67. The teams traded buckets to 69-69 with under a minute to go With time winding down, Sims missed a shot on the inside, but grabbed his own rebound and put it through the iron with just 17 seconds left to give Seward a 71-69 lead. With 6.2 seconds left and the ball on the Butler side of the floor, the whistle blew and the Saints were banged for a loose ball foul, sending the Grizzlies Chris Howell to the line with the game on the line. The freshman’s stroke was smooth as butter as he stepped to the line and hit both free throws to tie the game at 71. Seward had one last chance with 6.2 seconds left, but seemed to have taken the ball up the court rather non-chalant and was forced to settle for a guarded three by Derek Dorn which was off the mark and sent the game to overtime.

Wildly, Seward never trailed in the second half of the game, leading for 16:51 of the 20:00 of the half, unfortunately, they were tied with the Grizzlies for the last and most important 6 seconds to end the half.

The Saints took the early lead in the extra period, but Butler answered and they remained tied with 3:27 to go in the first overtime. Butler made a free throw to take a one point lead, their first since the 1:47 mark of the first half of play. The Grizzlies then got the play of the game, a three from Travis House, his only points of the game to put them up four and they used it to spur a 9-0 run to put the game away. Seward went 4:06 without a field goal in overtime as Butler opened a 84-75 lead and the Grizzlies would put the Saints away 87-77 to end their 2014-2015 season.

The game featured 10 lead changes and 11 ties in the 45 minute battle between the two teams that have shared the last six Jayhawk West titles. The final shooting numbers were similar as Seward shot 42% from the field, Butler 44% while the Grizzlies shot 33% from the three point line and the Saints shot 30%. The difference came on the glass where Butler dominated the rebounding edge. The Grizzlies outrebounded Seward 57-29 in the game including 24-6 on the offensive end. Butler scored 27 second chance points in the game while the Saints finished with 8. Sims led Seward with 21 points, his 10th straight game of 17 or more points to finish his freshman season for the Saints. Polley had 15 on 4 of 5 shooting off the Seward bench while Secean Johnson scored 14 in his final game of his Saints career. While he wasn’t able to score in the game, Dorn finished with a team best 7 rebounds in the loss and also dished out 6 assists for Seward.

The loss ends Seward’s season at 15-16 which marks the worst final season record for a Saints team since the 2003-2004 season. #7 Butler improves to 29-2 on the year and advances to the Region VI Semifinal where they will take on yet another Jayhawk West rival for a third time as they draw the Hutchinson Blue Dragons who defeated Coffeyville in overtime in the night game on day one of the tournament. The other semifinal game features Dodge City and Pratt, making it a clean sweep for the Jayhawk West in all four Final Four spots.

SEWARD COUNTY/#7 BUTLER BOX SCORE<http://www.sewardsaints.com/sports/mbkb/2014-15/boxscores/20150305_ft0m.xml>


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