LIBERAL, Kan. – It was a game that came down to the wire, but the Seward County Saints men's basketball team came away with a victory in the first round of the Region VI Tournament, defeating Butler, 63-61 as the Grizzlies final attempts missed their mark. It marks the first postseason win for the Saints since 2015.
It didn't start out well for the Saints as the Grizzlies connected on their first two shots to take a 5-0 lead. Seward responded by going on an 8-2 run to take a one-point lead. The Saints kept pushing and took a five-point lead following a 5-0 run by Isiah Small moments before the media timeout to make the score 20-15.
Coming out of the media timeout, the two teams jostled for position, but Seward prevented the Grizzlies from making up any ground. The Saints finished the final two minutes of the first half with a slight advantage, extending their lead by two points to take a 35-28 lead into halftime.
Seward shot 51.9 percent (14 of 27) from the floor in the first half, with Small finishing with 14 first half points. The Saints held Butler to 44 percent (11 of 25) from the floor.
The Grizzlies came out with a purpose in the second half, immediately connecting on an and-one. Butler continued from there, going on a 14-5 run to take a 42-40 lead. Seward answered with a 6-0 run to retake their lead at the media timeout.
Butler came out of the media timeout on a 7-0 run to take a three-point lead, but Seward kept it from getting any further as they answered to retake the lead with a fast break dunk by Montrevion Flowers. Butler kept it interesting, down six, Ketarrious Bouchum hit a three to cut the lead to three points with 29 seconds left.
Small hit just one from two at the free throw line following a foul and Karlon McSpadden drilled another three to make it a one-point game. Another foul sent Bethely to the line, where he went one-for-two. The Grizzlies had two shots to win the game, but missed both three-point attempts as the Saints won, 63-61.
Seward shot 46.2 percent (14 of 27) from the floor and 29.4 percent (5 of 17) from deep. Butler shot 44 percent (22 of 50) from the field and an even 50 percent (8 of 16) from deep.
Small (22 points) and Ke'Sean Davis (16 pts) led the Saints in scoring. Bethely and Flowers both added nine points. The Seward bench outscored Butler's 34 to 15. The Saints forced the Grizzlies into 19 turnovers.
Seward's season will continue as they advance to the Quarterfinals of the Region VI Tournament to take on the Coffeyville Red Ravens at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday in Park City at Hartman Arena.