LIBERAL, Kan. – For the second time this season, a battle between Butler and Seward County was decided in the final minute, with the fourth-ranked Saints completing the season sweep with a 50-46 win on Saturday at the Green House.
Just as was the case in Seward's 61-58 win in El Dorado earlier this season, the game was tied with under a minute to play.
Dakota Vann hit two free throws with 54 seconds left, tying the game 45-45. Seward answered with a bucket by Neidy Ocuane to put Seward up 47-45 with 38 seconds left.
Butler's Kyeria Hannah was fouled and went to the free throw with 11.5 seconds left, making 1 of 2 free throws to get Butler within a point.
The Grizzles would be unable to score again and Seward would make three free throws in the closing seconds to secure the win.
The defeat overshadowed a tremendous defensive effort by Butler. The Grizzlies led 6-0 after a pair of early 3-pointers by Dakota Vann, but found themselves trailing 15-9 after one quarter.
Butler then locked down defensively in the second quarter, holding Seward scoreless for more than nine minutes. The Saints scored just two points in the period, coming on a basket with 33 seconds left in the half.
The two points allowed in a quarter ties a program record. The Grizzlies allowed two points in the first quarter against Bethany College JV on Oct. 30, 2015 and also surrendered just two points in the second quarter against Tabor College JV on Nov. 13, 2015.
Butler, which scored the first 11 points in the second quarter, led Seward 20-17 at the half.
The Grizzlies also held Seward down to just two points through the first seven minutes of the third quarter. Combined with the second quarter, Butler allowed the Saints to just four points over a 16-minute span.
Eventually, Seward would get on track and stormed back to take a 29-28 lead late in the third quarter. Kyeria Hannah scored the final bucket of the period, giving Butler a 30-29 edge heading to the final quarter.
Butler led by as many as three points in the fourth quarter before Seward hit on four 3-pointers, three straight from Mollie Mounsey. Butler trailed by eight before going on a 10-2 run, tying the game to set up the final minute.
Butler shot just 28 percent from the floor for the game (16 of 56) and 23 percent from 3-point range (4 of 17). Seward shot 31 percent (15 of 48) and was also 23 percent from 3-point range (7 of 30).
Butler falls to 12-5 overall and 9-5 in Jayhawk Conference play. The Grizzlies travel to Colby on Monday for a makeup game that was postponed on Jan 14. Seward County is now 18-1 (14-1 KJCCC) and remains tied for first in the league standings.