Seward County Head Coach Bryan Zollinger admitted it wasn't the prettiest, but that his team would take it Saturday afternoon in Pratt as his Saints held on late against the Beavers in an 86-83 win to earn their first Jayhawk Conference victory of the season.
In a battle between the final two winless teams in Jayhawk Conference play, the Saints and Beavers battled it out early on to a 13-13 tie Saturday in the Beaverdome. Pratt pushed ahead by one at the first half media timeout but the Saints answered by tying the score back up at 29 moments later with 7:30 to go in the half. Three's from big men Spencer Franklin and Micah Littlejohn broke the deadlock and pushed the Saints up by six and that is where the two teams went to the half, with Seward in front of Pratt 42-36.
Pratt began the second half with an 8-2 run to quickly tie the score at 44, but Seward came right back with a 9-3 run of their own to retake a six point lead at 53-47 with 13 minutes to go. By the midway point of the half, Pratt had the Saints lead chopped back to two, but again a big three in clutch time by Seward stretched their lead back out to five with less than six minutes remaining in the contest. The Saints continued to keep at arm's length from the Beavers into the final moments when a late fury of threes from Pratt pushed the Beavers right back into things, cutting the Saints lead to just one at 84-83 with 10 seconds left in the game. Seward missed two free throws as they tried to ice the game away, but Pierre Johnson came away with a huge offensive rebound and kicked it to Kevin Sims who was fouled and sunk a pair of free throws to give the Saints a three point advantage at 86-83 with 3.4 seconds remaining. Pratt called a timeout to draw up one final play, but the Beavers couldn't come up with another last second buzzer beater against the Saints this time as Seward hung on for their first conference win of the year with an 86-83 victory.
Four of the five Saints starters reached double figures in scoring in the win including Sims who scored a game high 22. Johnson had a career offensive day, scoring 16 points on 7 of 9 shooting while also pulling down a team high 8 rebounds.
Seward gets off the schneid in conference play as they snap a four game skid to improve to 4-5 overall and 1-4 in league action on the year. Pratt becomes the leagues only winless team as they fall to 2-6 overall and 0-5 in Jayhawk action.
The Saints will wrap up a mini two game road stretch on Wednesday when they travel to Arkansas City to take on the Cowley Tigers as a busy conference schedule continues.