Good Luck

November 20th, 2019

sewardno12Kyle Cardaci puts in a lay-up against the Lamar Community College junior varsity Thursday night in the Greenhouse. Cardaci was one of 13 Saints to score in a 115-18 blowout win. L&T photo/Earl WattBy EARL WATT

Leader & Times

If Seward County would have scored more than two points in the first six minutes of Thursday’s game against the Lamar Community College junior varsity, the Saints might have set the school scoring record.

As it was, they still turned in one of the most lopsided wins in school history, knocking off the Lamar JV 115-18.

It might be the first time Seward ever played a community college junior varsity team.

“Community colleges are starting to have JV teams to make money,” Seward coach  Jason Sautter said. “Community colleges are starting to have junior varsity teams because they have people who want to play college basketball. They allow them to walk on, and basically anyone who wants to play can play. They don’t necessarily play varsity, but they come to the school to play basketball and pay tuition.”

That may increase the student count, but Thursday night’s result indicated that it may not equate into quality basketball.

Still, with 15:53 to play, the junior varsity had a 3-2 lead on the Saints who were struggling to hit perimeter shots.

“We talked before the game not to settle for threes,” Sautter said. “And then we came out and shot too many threes.”

While the Saints may not have a junior varsity, they do have a deep bench, and when the first five struggled with turnovers and missed outside shots, Sautter made a wholesale substitution and brought in five more players.

That group built a 10-3 lead, but they, too, struggled with turnovers, and Sautter made another substitution with five more players, and in the first 10 minutes of the game, 15 Saints had already seen action.

While the offense continued to find better opportunities, the defense continued to crush the smaller Lopes.

After trailing 3-2, Seward went on a 14-0 run to take a 16-3 lead after an Ahmen Ingrahim basket, and Seward extended the lead to 25-8 with 9:33 to play in the half.

Seward then put together one of the best runs in school history, scoring 39 straight points to take a 64-8 lead before  the Lopes were able to make a basket.

The entire run by half was 50-2, and the Saints had a 70-10 halftime lead.

Runs continued for the Saints in  the second half, and after holding the Lopes to only 10 points in the first half, Seward only allowed eight points in the second half.

Seward’s scoring slowed in the second half while Sautter played his entire bench, and the Saints cruised to the 115-18 win.

The Saints shot 59 percent while the Lopes finished with a 14 percent shooting percentage.

While Seward had 21 turnovers, Lamar had 50, and the Saints scored 68 points off turnovers.

The Saints also dominated the glass, outrebounding the Lopes 53-27.

Six Saints scored double figures including Stephen Takyi (15), Carey Page (13), Mika Metshkhvarishvili (13), Surakata Jawara (12), Qaiyoom Onlalege (11) and Branton McCray (10).

Thirteen of the 15 Saints who played scored.

“We win by almost 100 and turned it over 21 times,” Sautter said. “We have to improve there. That’s par for the course with 16 freshmen on the bench. We have talent, but last year’ team wouldn’t turn it over 21 times. They’ve been there, and they had the experience.  The first half we shot a lot of threes. I put on the board, ‘Don’t fall trap to shooting a lot of threes.’ In the second half we did a better job of not shooting threes. But we have to eliminate our turnovers.”

With a young team, Sautter pointed out times when his players are still learning the college game.

“We ran in transition, but we had guys on top of each other,” he said. “There’s still things to work on.”

Working those out in the early season against teams like Lamar’s junior varsity may pay off down the road against more experienced teams like Barton and Hutchinson.

Right now, Sautter has the challenge of pushing freshmen to reduce the learning curve as quickly as possible. 

“It’s like my first year two seasons ago,” Sautter said. “We had a lot of freshmen then. We had 17. They went through the wars. I feel like we have a lot of talent and size, but the challenge to me is how fast can we gel. With me being who I am, defensively we are  way, way ahead of offense. Even tonight, 21 turnovers — we aren’t in the right places, not the right spots, not passing at the right time.”

But if Sautter can get the Saints the reduce the learning curve, he has the depth to provide several different looks.

“We could start 6 (feet) - 5 (inches) on up if we want,” he said. “Or we can start small. I like our group. When we come together, I will love this group.”

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