Great Bend boys hand Emporia first loss; Lady Panthers fall

Great Bend senior Tyler Stuhlsatz makes a pivotal shot late in the Panthers' 66-65 comeback win...
Great Bend senior Tyler Stuhlsatz makes a pivotal shot late in the Panthers' 66-65 comeback win against unbeaten Emporia Friday.((photo by Mike Courson))
Published: Dec. 17, 2022 at 6:00 PM CST
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GREAT BEND, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - The Great Bend schedule has not been as strong as in years past heading into Friday’s 2022 finale. That changed as two unbeaten Emporia teams came to town. The Panther boys, with just two wins on the season, handed the Spartans their first loss in dramatic 66-65 fashion. The Great Bend girls fell to third-ranked Emporia 45-39.

The Panther boys scored just 36 points through the first three quarters, and trailed 42-36 with a quarter to play. Great Bend freshman Ian Premer put up 16 points in the final eight minutes, and the Panthers scored 20 points in the final frame to pull off the win.

“We just came out with more intensity and made shots,” said Premer. “We’d been getting good shots all game, they just started falling.”

Panther senior Braylon Council knocked down a three for a 54-53 lead with 1:49 remaining. Premer added a baseline jumper for a 56-53 score with 1:27 to play. Council added an and-one with 1:11 remaining to bump the lead to 59-54. The Spartans answered all night but had no answer late in the game.

“They’re a really good team and they’re going to make shots,” Premer said. “We just had to keep our heads in it and keep playing.”

Emporia did make a game of it late. Senior Parker Leeds converted a basket and foul with 40 seconds left to make it a one-possession game. Led by Premer, Great Bend made five of its seven free throws in the final 44 seconds, but missed free throws in the final seconds kept the door open for the Spartans. A 3-point attempt to tie missed, but junior River Peters was there for a stickback just before the final horn sounded. Unfortunately for Emporia, it was not enough to force overtime.

“It’s a huge win going going into the break,” said Premer. “We’re even now, which is a big deal for us. We have all the momentum we need to continue this through the season.”

Peters was big for Emporia all night, scoring seven of his team-high 20 points in the first half. The Spartans led 11-6 after one quarter and 23-17 at the half.

Junior Cooper Rech added 17 points for the Spartans, and Jalyn King finished with eight points.

Premer went scoreless in the first half but scored all of his game-high 22 points in the second half. Sixteen of those points came in the fourth quarter, including a 6-for-6 effort from the free throw line. Senior Tyler Stuhlsatz scored nine of his 14 points in the second half, Council finished with 13 points, and Cayden Scheuerman added nine points.

Emporia girls 45, Great Bend 39

After back-to-back seven win seasons in Cindy Beck’s first two seasons on the Great Bend sideline, the Lady Panthers opened the season at 4-1 heading into Friday’s test against third-ranked Emporia. The Lady Spartans forced 17 turnovers in the second half and 25 in the game to escape with a 45-39 win.

“That’s what we knew their weakness was a little bit, was going to be the pressure,” said Emporia coach Carolyn Dorsey. “Our problem is, we’re so thin right now injury-wise, I didn’t know if we could physically sustain the pressure from the get-go, which is why we didn’t. I knew that was an area we could maybe expose them in because that’s something our girls are good at. That was a big emphasis at halftime.”

Lady Panther junior Emilee Hall used a spin move to pick up a foul early in the fourth. Those two free throws tied the game at 31 with 6:33 remaining. Great Bend took the lead on a steal and bucket from Sadie Spray just 18 seconds later.

Emporia closed the game on a 14-6 run, starting with back-to-back baskets from 6-0 senior Rebecca Snyder. Junior Lexsey DeWitt added a 3-pointer for a 38-33 Spartan lead with 4:34 remaining. Emporia then used a 70-second possession to help shorten the game.

The contest remained close all night. The junior Spray hit an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer to level the score at 12 to end the first quarter. Hall scored six points in the second quarter to give the Lady Panthers a 22-19 edge at the half.

“They’re tough,” Dorsey said. “They played us close last year at their place, and we played them really well at our place. Coming out here, the environment, and maybe it’s the confidence those girls have, but they take it to you. They’re aggressive, they’re hard to guard, and we’re small.”

DeWitt scored off one of the 25 turnovers to give Emporia a 23-22 edge midway through the third. Snyder added a pair of baskets in a 10-second stretch to bump the gap to 27-23. Spray swished a late three in the frame, but Emporia still led 30-29 heading into the fourth.

Snyder finished with 19 points and eight rebounds for Emporia. Ryan Peak added 12 points, and DeWitt finished with 10 points. Spray paced the Lady Panthers with 19 points, followed by 11 points and five boards from Hall. Paige Thexton grabbed nine rebounds to go with her five points.