EARL WATT • Leader & Times
Trailing by six with less than four minutes to play, the Lady Saints rallied to tie the Butler Lady Grizzlies with back-to-back threes, but Seward could not complete the rally in a 63-62 loss.
Halima Salat nailed a three with 3:20 to play to cut Butler’s lead to 59-56, and she came down 50 seconds later and cranked in another to ties the game 59-59.
Butler took a two-point lead with a pair of free throws with 1:49 to play, and th Lady Saints had a chance to tie at the line, but Bri Linnear made one of two shots.
The Lady Grizzles stretched their lead to 63-60 with 1:26 to play with a basket, and the Lady Saints cut the lead to 63-62 after D’arrah allen connected on a pair of free throws.
The Lady Saints were forced to foul, and the Lady Grizzlies struggled at the line in the final four seconds. Butler missed both free throws, but the rebounded, and Seward had to foul with less than two seconds to play.
Butler again missed two shots, and the Lady Saints rebounded and immediately took a time out.
The Lady Saints advanced the ball after the time out to half court, but they couldn’t get a clean throw-in for a shot. The Lady Saints attempted to catch a contested throw-in, but the Lady Saint was bumped by a Butler defender to contest the inbound pass. The ball trickled down the court, no foul was called, and time expired.
“We got better, we learned to guard better,” Seward coach Todd Ciochetto said. “We will be a good team, but our basketball IQ is not there yet.”
Despite the challenges, Seward continued to compete.
“We still had a chance even with three players fouling out and one who was hurt in warm-ups,” Ciochetto said. “We had a chance on the inbounds play with a player wide open. We didn’t see her. We have a lot of little things to work on. By far this the best game we’ve played so far. We should have won it, but we’re going to grow from it.”
The game was an improvement after the rough outing in New Mexico where the Lady Saints only made 10 of 55 shots.
“We are learning how to play,” Ciochetto said. “We took the wrong shots in New Mexico. We stayed in that game until the end. This is a group that wants to learn. They were green with IQ, that’s not their fault that’s our fault. It’s our job to teach them. We’ve been working on film 16 hours a day.”
The goal is to be prepared by the time the Region VI tournament begins.
“Our goal is the end of the year,” Ciochetto said. “One loss won’t lose this conference.”