By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
With time running out and the Lady Saints watching their 16-point lead disappear, Seward coach Toby Wynn was looking for someone — anyone — to step up.
No one ever did.
The result was a 62-59 loss to No. 14 Hutchinson Wednesday at the Greenhouse.
“We don’t have a go-to player,” Wynn said. “We had Rachel Barnes, Tegan Cunningham — they went and scored. They’re not here any more. We are looking for someone to step up and make plays.”
Seward steadily jumped out to a 16-point second half lead, but Mariah Lee and Hanna Bognar received their fourth fouls in the first five minutes of the second half.
Wynn didn’t point a finger at the officials since Lee had been in foul trouble before.
“Mariah gets into foul trouble a majority of the time,” he aid. “They aren’t singling her out when it’s every game. She has to be able to adjust.”
With Lee and Bognar on the bench, Hutchinson started to chip away at the Lady Saint lead.
Power forward Jackie Patterson took advantage of the smaller Lady Saints defending in the lane, and the lead was back to single digits with 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Seward’s lead was down to five with 9:06 to play when Morgan Skomal was fouled but missed both shots.
Britney Nuzum hit a three for Hutch followed by another three by Alysse Barlow, and the Lady Blue Dragons tied the game 55-55 with 2:01 to play.
Two free throws by Ashlynn Knoll gave the Lady Saints a lead, but Patterson pushed to the basket and was sent to the line where she made five of six free throws in the final 1:27 of the game.
Seward turned the ball over four times in the final minute of the game, and Hutchinson built a 61-57 lead with 13.8 seconds to play.
Knoll hit a pair of free throws with six seconds to play, and after Barlow only made one free throw with 5.1 seconds remaining, Seward had a chance for a three to tie the game at the buzzer, but Knoll’s shot clanked off the front of the rim as the buzzer sounded.
Knoll led the Lady Saints with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Kayla Thomas had 11.
The loss dropped Seward to fifth in the Jayhawk West and put them on the outside looking in for a home playoff game.
“It’s tough now,” Wynn said. “We go to Barton next. They beat Cloud. This is a must-win for us.”
If Seward (15-8, 5-4) can beat Barton (14-9, 6-3), The Lady Saints would own the tie-breaker over the Lady Grizzlies with a season sweep. Five of the remaining seven games are on the road for the Lady Saints including the next three. Seward will play Saturday at Barton, Monday at Colby (8-15, 3-6) and Wednesday at Pratt (12-11, 2-7).
Seward will end the season Feb. 12 at home against Cloud (14-6, 5-3), Feb. 20 at Dodge City (7-14, 0-7), Feb. 23 at home against Garden City (13-9, 3-5), and Feb. 26 at Butler (16-6, 6-2).