Jay Daubenberger

Liberal, Kansas – After going winless in Jayhawk conference action through he first couple of weeks, the Seward County Saints men’s basketball team finally secured their first win in KJCCC play with a 73-68 win over Northwest Kansas Tech on Wednesday night.

In the first few minutes it was a struggle for the Saints to score as they were only able to put six points on the board through the first five minutes as the Mavericks led 12-6 before Seward County was able to finally find some firepower on the offensive end with Malakye Cunningham slashing his way down the lane to find Blessin Kimble for an easy two points to cut the deficit down to two at 15-13. A few possessions later Cunningham recorded another assist with a no look pass to the corner for a three-point basket by Kobe McGowan who gave SCCC their first lead of the night at 18-16 and it was all Saints the rest of the first half. Carson Bennett once again showed his long-range ability to push the lead to seven 33-26 and quickly cashed another three to make it a double-digit lead going into the halftime break with Seward County ahead 36-26.

Mervin Hope opened up the second half where the Saints left off before the break with back-to-back baskets for Seward County to keep the lead growing at 40-26 and an absolute highlight reel alley-oop slam by Jaden Martin and a logo range three from Cunningham kept it going with all the energy in the arena being in favor of the Green and Silver thanks to a 48-31 lead just six minutes into the second half. However, Northwest Kansas Tech kept climbing back as they went on an 11-5 run to close the gap to 50-42 until Amir Whitlock joined in on the long-range fun with a thirty foot three to help keep the lead alive at 53-46. McGowan helped lead Martin to an easy two points plus the foul for an and-one opportunity, but the Mavericks began to inch closer and locked the score up at 67-67 with a minute left to play in regulation. With time winding down it was Kimble who stepped up and charged to the rim for the score while drawing the foul and sinking the shot from the charity stripe to retake a 70-67 lead before finally grabbing their first conference win of the season 73-68.

Kimble finished the night with 16 points and 6 rebounds for the Saints while Bennett and Martin each added 15 points of their own. Seward County now improves to 3-5 on the 2023-24 season with their first conference win to put them at 1-3 in KJCCC play. They will take the next week off as they prepare for Coffeyville on the road when they play the Red Ravens at 7:00 PM next Wednesday.