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staying alive! — Saints hold on late to advance with 63-61 win PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 02 March 2018 11:44

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Seward’s Isiah Small put up a finger roll shot against Butler Thursday night in the Greenhouse. Small scored 22 points to lead the Saints to a 63-61 win in the first round of the Region VI playoffs to advance to Wichita where Seward (18-13) will face the top-seeded Coffeyville Red Ravens (26-4).  L&T photo/Earl Watt

By EARL WATT

• Leader & Times

March Madness came early in the Greenhouse Thursday, but despite two three pointers in the final 24 seconds by the Butler Grizzlies, Seward survived the first round of the Region VI playoffs with a 63-61 win.

The Saints relied heavily on Isiah Small who was able to cut through the Grizzly defense for shots at the rim. He led all scorers with 22 points.

Ke’Sean Davis also made his presence known, and despite a technical for holding on to the rim too long after a duk, he knocked down two three pointers and scored 16 points in the win.

Despite leading by seven with 35.7 seconds to play, the Saints found themselves trying to prevent a game-winning shot on the last possession of the game.

Karlon McSpadden hit a three pointer from the right wing with 23.8 seconds to play to cut Seward’s lead to 62-58.

The Saints then turned the ball over, and McSpadden knocked down another right wing three to cut Seward’s lead to 62-61.

The Saints moved the ball up the floor before Devin Bethely was fouled with 11.7 seconds to play, but he only made one of two shots, giving the Saints a two-point lead.

Butler pushed the ball up the court and took another right wing three, but this time it glanced off the rim and into the hands of a Grizzly who took another mid-range shot, but that, too, missed the mark.

Still, another Grizzly at the bucket jumped up for a tip-back, and this time the ball went through the hoop, but the tip came after the final buzzer had sounded and was waved off, giving the Saints the 63-61 win.

“I’m not sure if the game was 40 minutes and one second if we would have won,” Seward coach Jason Sautter said. “I don’t know if we could have survived in overtime.”

But his Saints did what it took to stay alive in the post-season.

“Our guys did enough to win,” he said. “And it’s March. Survive and advance. I keep telling them to find a way. Our guys showed up. They performed. I’ve been on them for the last month, and they have been performing. They earned the home floor tonight, and I’m glad we could get to Wichita.”

Seward has won four of the last five and will take that momentum to the Hartman Arena Sunday.

“When you get into the regional tournament, you have to have good guard play, you have to have size and rebound,” Sautter said. “We have won four of our last five, but that doesn’t matter. We won this one. Coffeyville is really good, they have four guys that could be all conference.”

The Saints played Jayhawk Conference champion Coffeyville to a three-point game in the Greenhouse earlier this season, and Sautter said that the Saints have been the team that had Coffeyville’s success in the past.

“Seward has been there before,” he said. “Now we are trying to get back.”

And Sautter doesn’t believe his team has played their best game.

“I don’t know if we have actually put it all together yet,” he said. “I hope we catch lightning in a bottle, but I don’t think we have been at our peak yet.”

Seward faces Coffeyville at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Hartman Arena in Wichita.

 

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About The High Plains Daily Leader

The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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