Great Bend girls end road losing streak at Hays
HAYS, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - With an away playoff game on the horizon, Friday was a good time to end a dreadful streak. Great Bend entered Friday’s rival game against Hays riding a 17-game road losing skid. All that comes to an end as the Lady Panthers led most of the way and prevailed 46-40.
“It doesn’t affect our postseason, however I do feel like it’s a big thing for us to end the regular season on a win going into Tuesday,” said Great Bend coach Cindy Beck.
The Lady Panthers stayed in control most of the night but Hays forced three turnovers to begin the fourth quarter. All three takeaways resulted in free throws, and Carly Lang and Reanna Green each hit freebies to give the Indians a 30-28 edge.
Great Bend nearly turned it over a fourth time. Instead, freshman Sadie Spray went back door for a basket and foul with 5:18 remaining. She missed her free throw but freshman Emilee Hall grabbed the offensive rebound. That led to a 3-pointer from junior Taryn Warren - her first of the season. The Lady Panthers never trailed again.
“We went through moments where the momentum swung to them and we had to get it back,” Beck said. “That was a big thing for us was not to get down and give up on it. We knew we had to get the energy and get the momentum swinging back our way.”
Defense was crucial all night but proved extra important down the stretch. Great Bend senior Sydney Unruh went end to end on a steal for a 37-32 score. A Hall steal led to a bucket from Spray, and another Unruh steal allowed Great Bend to milk some clock before freshman Makenzie Premer went to the free throw line.
Hays got big threes from Green and Lang down the stretch to cut the lead to one with 2:10 to play. The Lady Panthers led 44-40 when a Premer steal led to a layup from Spray with 13 ticks left for the final points of the night.
“I think both teams struggled to score so we knew a defensive battle was going to be a big thing,” said Beck. “We tried some different things, got some different girls in trying to get a little quickness out on the court. All our guards did a nice job up top, trying to get their hands on the ball, moving, and rotating in our zone. It was a big defensive battle for us. We got some big steals when we needed them late.”
Unruh scored five points in the opening quarter as the Lady Panthers built a 9-7 lead. The low-scoring affair saw Great Bend hit the half with a 21-20 lead. Hays used a 22-10 rebound advantage in the middle quarters, and a 3-pointer from sophomore Morgan Engel at the buzzer to level the score at 28 heading into the fourth.
Unruh led all players with 17 points. Spray added eight points for the Lady Panthers, and Warren finished with seven points. Green, Lang, and Engel each scored nine points for Hays. Lang and Engel each grabbed five rebounds.
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