An Achilles Heel for them all year long, the Seward County Saints defense let them down once again Wednesday night on the road in Iola as they managed to force just seven Allen turnovers and watched as the Red Devils marched to the free throw line 30 times in an 85-80 loss for Allen's first win over the Saints since 1988.
The Saints and Red Devils went into Wednesday's matchup with identical records at 5-6 overall and 2-5 in Jayhawk Conference play. The play indicated just that early on in the first half as the two played to a 5-5 draw early on and remained deadlocked midway through the period at 16. A push by the Saints, led by guard Kevin Sims gave Seward their largest lead to that point in the game at 25-18 and moments later Sims put the Saints up by ten, 32-22 with 6:00 left in the half. The Saints went ice cold and the Red Devils roared back, tying the score at 34 and eventually finishing off a 19-5 run to close the half to take a 41-37 lead into the break.
A few halftime adjustments had the Saints right back in it as the second half got underway as Micah Littlejohn cashed a three and then scored in the paint for five straight to even up the score at 44. Seward and Allen went back and forth from there and found themselves tied up once again at 59 at the second half media timeout. Later on in the half a Tre Kidd bucket put the Saints on top by one, but Allen answered with a hoop of their own to give the Red Devils a 72-71 lead with under 3:30 remaining. Eventually the Devils went up by five with less than two minutes to go, but a three from Sims got Seward back to within two and with time winding down, the Saints crawled to within one at 79-78. But that was as close as the Saints would get as Allen took care of business at the free throw line and Seward turned the ball over with under five seconds to go with a chance to tie it to seal their fate on the night as the Red Devils held on to win 85-80 to send the Saints on the long bus ride home disappointed.
Offensively the Saints were again fluent, shooting 49% on the night while getting 37 more points from Sims. Sims now has back to back 37 point games, marking the most points in consecutive games by a Seward player since the 1980 season when Tony Slaughter flirted with 40 with regularity. Seward forced Allen into just seven turnovers on the night while committing 21 fouls to allow the Devils to shoot 30 freebies which they turned into 25 points.
Seward falls to 5-7 overall and 2-6 in Jayhawk Conference play on the season while Allen earns their first win over the Saints since 1988 to improve to 6-6 overall and 3-5 in league action.
The Saints will wrap up the first semester of action on Saturday at home in the Greenhouse when they host the Neosho County Panthers in an 8:00 tip. Free tickets are available courtesy of our buyout sponsor McDonald's at either of their Liberal locations. Fans are encouraged to bring a new or gently used stuffed animal to the Greenhouse for the game to participate in the inaugural 'Teddy Bear Toss' at halftime of the Lady Saints game where fans will toss their stuffed animal onto center court to be collected by the Saints Cheerleaders to be distributed to a local charity for Christmas presents for the less fortunate.