By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
Twice Colby made a run at the Seward County Saints, and both times the Saints were able to fight off the Trojans and move to 2-0 in the competitive Jayhawk West with an 82-65 win Saturday at The Green House.
Colby had a 16-13 lead before Irvin Hollinger scored a basket and Deverrell Biggs scored the next five points to give the Saints a 20-16 lead.
Colby tied the game 24-24, but an 11-1 run by the Saints gave Seward a 10-point lead, 35-25, with 1:12 to play before the half.
Colby narrowed the gap to 35-29.
Colby continued to outscore the Saints to start the second half, and the Trojans took a 40-39 lead after a three-point basket from Chaz Sharp.
“Coach (Bryan Zollinger) called a time out and he had to get the troops back together,” Hollinger said. “He said get clamped down on defense and get stops, and we will come out on top.”
Seward put together a 17-0 run that included a three from Kaheem Ransom and 10 from Hollinger to give the Saints a 56-40 lead with 9:35 to play.
Seward was able to overcome a height disadvantage, 6-foot, 11-inch Roman Szymanski to four points.
“We tried to bring their big man to the perimeter,” Hollinger said. “Then we would drive and kick. We run the floor on rebounds hard, that’s how we get fast break buckets. We play hard as a team.”
The Saints maintained the lead the rest of the way to earn the win.
“Coach didn’t want us to let up,” Hollinger said. “He said grind it out the whole game. It is easy to come back in five minutes. That’s all it takes.”
Zollinger also thought the time out when Colby tied the game at 37-37 was the turning point.
“I thought we tightened up defensively and got some turnovers,” he said. “We got some offensive rhythm. That’s how we were able to get that lead.”
Seward had a similar second half turnaround in the second half against No. 7 Barton County earlier in the week.
“In both of those games we made a statement that we needed to attack the lane a lot harder by passing and dribbling,” Zollinger said. “It reflects in the shooting percentages and us getting to the line. We have been working on free throws and shooting higher percentages since Christmas.”
Against Colby, Seward made 91 percent of its free throws and 56 percent from the field.
Biggs and Ransom led the Saints with 17 points each, Hoolinger had 16, and Trey Starks added 11.
Seward (14-2, 2-0) will travel to Pratt to face the Beavers (10-5, 0-1) Wednesday.