It’s way too early to start gauging just how good the Saints and Lady Saints will be, so like every other sports analyst I’ll do it anyway.
The more difficult call would be the Lady Saints, and it has nothing to do with who is on the floor but everything to do with who is not.
The Lady Saints suffered some tough pre-season injuries, and for the Lady Saints to be sitting with a 4-0 record with only eight payers is a very promising sign, but also precarious. Another injury, or two, and Seward is in a world of hurt.
As for those that are suiting up, Seward will be formidable for anyone.
Fabiana Monte has returned for her sophomore season, and the deer is no longer staring in the headlights.
Monte has become a solid point guard with the Kim Ortega-like ability to slash to the basket and lay in the shot.
Shanise Brooks is playing with passion in the paint, and a missed shot is nothing more than water on a duck’s back, which is exactly what you need from your post.
I have been impressed with Korrina Chapman, the ying to Brooks’ yang in the paint. The benefit here is that defenses will have to commit two in the paint when both of these girls are on the floor at the same time, and they can give each other a breather as well.
I also like the additional ball-handling skills across the board for Toby Wynn’s team this season. Several on the roster can bring the ball up the court.
While Hutchinson is still the team to beat in the Jayhawk West, as long as Seward’s eight can stay healthy, they will be in the discussion in March. If some of the banged-up Lady Saints return, watch out.
For the Saints, there is no need to hit the panic button because of two early-season losses.
The same thing happened last year, and the Saints went on to win their third consecutive Jayhawk West title.
My concern with the Saints will be the development of the play in the paint.
Brian Bridgeforth is back for his senior season, and he will have to be a force for Seward to succeed.
Malcolm Hill-Bey will get his, Quentin Purtue will have to provide sophomore leadership.
Kevin Smith provided glimpses of what he can do Friday against Midland, and that will need to be the norm.
Niem Stevenson will have to adapt to the college game quickly, but as long as Bryan Zollinger is calling the shots, you know his Saints will be in the hunt.
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