MESA, Ari. – The Seward County Saints basketball team defeated No. 21 Triton College, 97-96, in double overtime on Friday in the opening round of the Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout. The Saints, who snapped a two-game losing streak, improved to 7-4 overall and advanced to play the South Plains Texans on Saturday at 9 p.m. CST.
With less than 10 seconds left in the second overtime, Seward's Samuel Henderson drove down the lane and kicked it back out to Ramiro Santiago who missed a three-pointer. The offensive rebound was tipped back to Henderson and he connected from the short corner with 1.9 seconds left to give the Saints a one-point lead. The Saints held on for the win as the Trojans missed a desperation three at the buzzer.
The first half was all Triton as Seward turned the ball over 15 times. The Saints kept it close early, trailing only 13-12, but then the Trojans went on a 17-5 run to command a 30-17 lead with 10 minutes left. The Trojans dominated in the paint, scoring 28 points in the lane, led by big man Austin Richie with 16 first-half points. At halftime, the Saints trailed 47-35.
The Saints responded by opening the second half with a 10-0 burst to cut the deficit to 47-45. Seward also picked up the defensive intensity, limiting Triton's mid-range opportunities and paint touches and forcing it to shoot from the outside
With 6:01 left in the second half, the Saints trailed, 71-63, but once again responded with another 10-0 run, capped by a Henderson three, to regain the lead at 73-71. The score would be tied three different times in the final three minutes. The final time came with 1.3 seconds left as Stephen Takyi connected on a pick and roll to tie it at 81 for the Saints. An unsuccessful half-court heave by the Trojans sent the game into overtime.
In the first overtime, Takyi scored all 10 Seward points on 8-of-9 from the free-throw line and a basket from from the field. The Saints led 91-88, but Triton's Trey Boston knocked down a three with four seconds left to knot it at 91. Seward had another opportunity but Henderson's runner at the buzzer rattled in and out and the game was headed into its second extra session.
The second overtime had five lead changes and three in the last minute. Henderson scored the final four points for the Saints, including the game winner.
Seward County was led by Kyle Cardaci with 26 points, five rebounds and two assists. Henderson added 24 points, Takyi with 22 and Surakata Jawara contributed a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Trojans, who suffered only their third loss of the season at 10-3, were led by Quinlan Bennett and Austin Richie with 21 points each. Also in double-digit scoring for Triton was Boston with 15, Jalen Shaw with 11 and Jamal Smith with 10.