By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
Seward closed out 2011 with a pair of victories at the holiday classic in Chanute.
The Saints edged host Neosho by one, 66-65, and then held on for a 66-63 win over Johnson County.
Deverell Biggs led the Saints to victory in both games as the leading scorer, putting in 17 points against Neosho and another 18 against Johnson County.
The Saints jumped out to a 13-point lead against Neosho in the first half, but that lead disappeared in the second.
Seward shot 48 percent in the first half but cooled to 36 percent in the second.
Neosho was doing just the opposite.
After a decent 47 percent shooting in the first half, Neosho heated up to 57 percent in the second half. And while Seward was on fire form the three-point line in the first half, hitting six on 11 shots, the Saints couldn’t connect from three-point range in the second half. Seward missed all four attempts.
Again, it was a reversal of fortune for Neosho who only hit one of three attempts form three-point range in the first half but connected on four of 10 in the second.
But Seward was able to protect their lead at the free throw line in the second half, hitting 14 of 19 attempts.
Daveon Boardingham scored 11 points, and Edson Avila added 10 in the one-point win.
On Saturday, Seward faced Johnson County, and turnovers and fouls nearly led to a Johnson County upset of the Saints.
But Seward was able to shoot enough shots to win 66-63.
Seward was able to build a four-point halftime lead despite being outshot by Johnson County 50 percent to 38 percent.
Johnson County also forced Seward into more turnovers (13-10) and had more steals (8-6).
Seward fouled in the second half, and it allowed Johnson County the chance to narrow the gap. Avila fouled out, and Boardingham and Brice Jenkins each had four.
Seward only took 22 shots in the second half while Johnson County took 31, but the difference was that Seward made 55 percent of its shots in the final 20 minutes while Johnson County only connected on 36 percent.
Biggs led the Saints with 18 points followed by Irvin Hollinger’s 12 points and 10 from Kaheem Ransom.
The Saints advanced to 12-2 on the season and will travel to Great Bend Wednesday to open up Jayhawk West action against Barton County.
Barton is currently ranked No. 7 in the nation with a record of 14-0