PARK CITY, Kan. – It was a hard-fought quarterfinal game in the Region VI Tournament between the No. 1 seed Coffeyville Red Ravens and the No. 8 seed Seward County Saints, but it was the Red Ravens who eventually came out on top 66-61.
The battle between the top two region defenses didn't disappoint, as the two teams combined to force 60 turnovers. Seward committed 27, while Coffeyville committed 23. In a game where every point mattered, the Red Ravens managed to get to the free throw line 45 times to Seward's 22. Coffeyville came into the game leading the nation in free throw attempts.
Neither team could gain a significant advantage through the first twelve minutes of the game, but Seward went on an 11-2 run as it appeared they would begin to pull away from the Red Ravens. However, Coffeyville's TJ Washington took over in the final five minutes of the half, scoring nine straight points as part of a 12-1 run to end the half, as the Saints led by one point, 35-34.
Seward shot 52 percent (13 of 25) in the first half from the floor, but only 22.2 percent (2 of 9) from behind the arc. The Saints held Coffeyville to 37 percent (10 of 27) from the floor and 36.4 percent (4 of 11) from deep.
The back-and-forth struggle continued through the first nine minutes of the second half, but the Red Ravens went on an 11-2 run over a three-minute stretch to blow the game open. Coffeyville continued their offensive, primarily through free-throws, extending their lead to a game-high 10 points.
The Saints, as they've done all season, fought until the end of the game. Seward went on a 9-2 run to close the gap to just two points following back-to-back three pointers from Hegel Augustin. Unfortunately, their finals shots couldn't find their target as they Saints were forced to foul the Red Ravens, extending their lead to five by the ending of the game, winning 66-61.
Seward ended the game shooting 41.7 percent (20 of 48) from the floor, but just 18.2 percent (4 of 22) from behind the arc. The Saints defense held the Red Ravens to 34.8 percent (16 of 46) from the field and 31.3 percent (5 of 16) from deep.
It was primarily one player who caused fits for the Saints all night, TJ Washington. He scored 28 points for the Red Ravens and went 16 of 21 from the free throw line, one less free throw than the Saints had as a team.
Seward finishes the season 18-14, a nine-game improvement for the Saints from a season ago. After projected to finish 10th in the Jayhawk Conference, Seward did two spots better, earning a home playoff game and advancing to the Region VI Quarterfinals for the first time since 2014.