The Seward County Saints put together one of their best 40 minute efforts of the season Saturday night at home in the Greenhouse against Independence, unfortunately for the guys in green, it wasn't enough in an 83-75 loss in which they played with just six dressed players.
The shorthanded Saints had a little bit of trouble getting out of the gate on Saturday night, falling behind visiting Independence 12-2 to begin the contest. A rare three from Ernest Carter got the Saints offense going, but Seward had trouble slowing the Pirate attack down as the teams traded baskets to 21-11 midway through the first half. The Saints kept grinding, getting five straight points in the paint from big man Martavious Wilson to make it a six point game and a three moments later from Malik Brown to cut the Indy lead to just three at 30-27. Pierre Johnson drove to the bucket and scored to make it a one point game with 3:42 left and they would play even with the Pirates for the remainder of the half to make it a 34-33 game at the break.
The Saints looked a step slow early on in the second as Indy came out and scored the first five points of the period to stretch their lead to six at 39-33. The Pirates pushed their lead to nine at the 17:00 mark before a Charles Beauregard three broke their momentum to get Seward back to within six. A pair of free throws from Johnson made it a three point game, but the Pirates scored the next six to take a 57-48 lead midway through the half. The Saints continued to hang around, but just could never get over the hump, as Independence kept their distance for the next six minutes to keep it a 10 point game at 73-63 with 3:18 to go. Seward got to within seven on another Wilson bucket with 2:56 to go, but that was as close as they would get as the Pirates protected the lead and took the air out of the ball late to leave Liberal with a n 83-75 victory.
Seward shot 50% on the night, but were hurt by 12 Independence offensive rebounds that turned into 16 second chance points. Wilson led Seward with a career high 16 points and 7 rebounds in the loss while Brown finished with 16 and Beauregard and Johnson had 15 apiece.
The Saints fall to 8-19 overall and 5-18 in conference play with the loss, almost assuring them of last place in the final standings after Neosho and Pratt both won Saturday. Independence evens up their 2017 record to 13-13 and remains in the hunt for a home playoff game at 10-13 in league play.
Seward travels to the Northwest corner of the state and Colby Wednesday to take on the Trojans in the Community Building before a Saturday trip to Dodge City to play in the new DC3 Student Activities Center.