Hutch still ain’t clutch: Zollinger gets first win at Sports Arena

Calling Seward’s Saturday night win at Hutchinson huge would be an understatement.  Coach Bryan Zollinger, in his seventh year with the Saints, was 0-6 in the Sports Arena in regular season play.

That zero would be quickly straightened out to a 1 by the end of the night, though, as the Saints pulled out a win in the last seconds against Hutchinson.

Niam Stevenson lead the Saints comeback, putting up a conference high score with 28 points.  Seward won 84-82 to take both of this year’s conference games against Hutchinson for the first time since 2004.

The game started off with Stevenson, the Saints best player, going blow for blow with Hutchinson’s star, Cincinnati signee Coreonte DeBerry.

In the first minute and a half, both players would put the ball in the basket for their teams to make it a 4-4 game.  Then at 2:30 it was Stevenson 6 and DeBerry 5 before the rest of the players on each team decided to join in on the fun.

With 15:11 left in the first half, Seward’s Secean Johnson drove to the basket and scored to tie the game up at 8.  Hutch then went on a 16-5 run against Seward to make it a 24-13 game with 8:29 left until halftime.  Seward began to play well offensively, but just couldn’t contain Hutch.

The teams went back and forth and Hutch still had control at the 6 minute mark with a 30-17 lead.  The Saints kept fighting though, and ended up holding Hutch scoreless for almost 3 minutes going on a 15-0 run being led by sophomore Brian Bridgeforth and freshmen Stevenson with six points each.  At the end of the run, the Saints would find themselves with a 33-32 lead.  Hutch came back quickly with a 5-1 run of their own and they held the lead going into half 38-34.

With two quick baskets from Malcolm Hill-Bey and Stevenson, the Saints took the lead back 43-42 with 17:56 remaining.  The game then started to become an instant classic, as the two teams went back and forth with lead exchanges five times in five minutes.

At the end of those five minutes, the game was tied at 58 with little more than 10 minutes left.  The game continued back and forth and at the time of the second media timeout, the game was tied once again at 62.  Hutch came out of the media timeout on fire and took a quick 71-64 lead with 7:30 remaining in the game.  The Saints continued to persevere and went on a quick 9-0 run.  Stevenson scored on a basket at the bucket for a 73-71 lead with 6:05 remaining.

Hutch came right back to tie it up and take the lead before Johnson would tie the game up for the 11th time at 75 with a little less than five minutes remaining.  About two and a half minutes later, the game remained tied up, this time at 80.  Hill-Bey put in a free throw to break the tie and put the Saints up 81-80 with 2:09 remaining.  Seward got a pair of stops and then Quentin Purtue put in two free throws to make it an 83-80 game with only 47 seconds left on the clock.  Kadeem Allen picked up two free throws for Hutch with 37 seconds left in the game to make it a one point game.

Seward would then turnover the ball on their possession and DeBerry came sprinting down the court, but Johnson was waiting for him in the lane as he took position and got the offensive charge called on DeBerry.

Hill-Bey then went to the line after being fouled and put in one of the two free throws with 24 seconds remaining.  Hutch came down the court looking to take the final shot.  They got the ball in the hands of the All-American Allen, and he decided that rather go for the tie he would go for the win.  His three point shot would be no good and the Saints brought down the rebound securing a 84-82 win.

This game had 17 ties and 14 lead changes.

Seward now stands 17-8 overall and with the win has a Jayhawk West record of 7-2.

Seward recaptured first place in the Jayhawk West with the win.