By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
Coming off a 12-point loss to the Colorado Kings, Seward coach Bryan Zollinger stayed up most of the night before the McCook game to think about what went wrong.
His final analysis — poor coaching.
“Friday night was my fault,” Zollinger said. “I told them that today. I made some strategic mistake. After 23 years doing this, I don’t make as many, but it happens. I want them to take accountability, I have to do the same.”
Zollinger would not abandon the full court press against the Kings despite the Saints getting beat by the home run pass.
“I was being stubborn,” he said. “I was thinking, ‘We are going to turn them over and wear them down.’ I should have adjusted.”
Zollinger modified his coaching style Saturday, and the Saints shot lights out in a 109-71 wi over McCook.
“I thought our guys played with a really high level of energy,” Zollinger said. “They also played with a lot of teamwork. Those were missing last night.”
Kaheem Ransom pressed to the basket on fast break against McCook and scored 24 points to lead the Sains to the victory.
“Kaheem is a really good player,” Zollinger said. “He did a good job, and our guards in general were sharing the ball, finding post guys open, and making the extra pass. When you do that, everyone starts sharing and gets it going.”
The higher level of emotion was apparent when Seward consistently built a 12-point lead. With 8:30 to play in the first half, Daveon Boardingham received a pass in the lane, made the basket and was fouled. His intense reaction was one of many throughout the night for the Saints.
Along with Ransom’s 24 points were Deverell Biggs with 20, Boardingham scored 17, and Brice Jenkins broke into double digits with 10.
Seward had an 11-point halftime lead, but as the second half continued, the Saints played better. After shooting 59 percent in the first half, Seward shot 70 percent in the second.
Seward’s defense put the pressure on McCook in the second half, holding the Indians to 37 percent and 0-for-5 from the three-point line.
Ten different Saints scored in the blowout victory. The reserves finished the game as strong as the starters, holding McCook to one point in the final four minutes.
The win improved Seward’s record to 8-2 on the season.
The Saints will host the Pizza Hut Classic Friday and Saturday at The Green House. The Saints will host Quakerdale Prep at 8 p.m. Friday and Northern Oklahoma at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Admission is free courtesy Pizza Hut.