By ROY ALLEN
Seward assistant athletic director
The Seward County Saints finished the first half of their 2013-2014 season in style Saturday afternoon in the Perryman Center in Garden City, burying Raleigh’s Finest Prep 124-78 to earn their fourth straight victory.
It didn’t take the Saints long to get things going against Raleigh’s Finest after the opening tip in their Saturday matinee affair. Seward scored five points in the first 30 seconds of the contest and already had a double digit lead at 15-5 less than three minutes into things. It was just a sneak peak of things to come as Seward opened up their lead to 35-16 on a bucket from Quentin Purtue with 12:40 remaining in the first half and were nearly halfway to the century mark midway through the first half as they held a 43-18 advantage just 11 minutes into the game. The flurry of offense continued for the guys in green and a two handed slam by Brian Bridgeforth put the Saints in front 62-28 with 3:30 until the break. At the half the Saints were doubling up the Roadrunners, leading the prepsters from Oklahoma City 68-34.
As expected, the Saints offensive numbers were impressive in the first 20 minutes. Seward shot 67 percent and hit on 6 of 10 from downtown while forcing 15 Raleigh’s Finest turnovers and holding them to 40 percent shooting.
Seward’s hot shooting continued as the second half got under way. Long bombs from Malcolm Hill-Bey and Kevin Smith quickly got the Saints going and five minutes into second half action it was Seward 86 and Raleigh’s Finest 39. As the Saints emptied their bench midway through the period, they inched closer and closer to the century mark, taking a 97-56 lead on a drive and score from Tyreke Sharp as the media timeout hit. With the clock the only thing from a fourth straight Saints win, defenses seemed to go out the window for both sides. Seward pushed their lead to 115-74 as the game wound under four minutes and they scored eight of the final nine points of the game to come away with a 124-78 win.
Hitting on 67 percent of their second half field goal attempts, the Saints finished the game at just a tick over 67 percent shooting in the game, a season high. Seward also hit on 9 of 18 three point attempts for the game, good for 50 percent and another season best. Bridgeforth, coming off of a Jayhawk Conference Player of the Week award on Tuesday, made his best case for repeating as the winner this week, scoring a career high 28 and also grabbing 9 rebounds to lead the Saints in both categories. Fellow sophomore Quentin Purtue, also coming off a career game Friday against God’s Academy, followed up his 22 point effort against the Ambassadors with 20 against Raleigh’s Finest Saturday. Malcolm Hill-Bey, Secean Johnson, and Niem Stevenson each finished with 13 points for the Saints while Kevin Smith came off the bench to score 11.
Seward wins their fourth straight game and will go into the holiday break with an 8-6 record. They will now set idle for three weeks before taking the court again on January 3rd and 4th in the Greenhouse when they host the 2014 Conestoga Classic.