Great Bend boys down Hays; Lady Indians cruise
GREAT BEND, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - The Hays-Great Bend rivalry has tamed in recent years. That was evidenced by a half-full gymnasium to watch the teams in Tuesday’s Western Athletic Conference battles. The Great Bend boys flirted with a running clock throughout the fourth quarter in a 64-47 win. The Hays girls closed out the first half on a 13-0 run en route to a 63-45 win.
Great Bend 64, Hays 47
Panther freshmen played a big role in Tuesday’s dominant performance. Ian Premer made all five of his shots from the floor in the first quarter, including three triples, on the way to a game-high 25 points. Jacob Hall added 11 points and six rebounds in the win. Great Bend made seven of its nine shot attempts in the first quarter, and opened the third quarter 7-for-11 from the floor.
“I think it’s just sharing the ball and playing as a unit,” said Great Bend coach Kyle Kriegh. ‘I don’t think at any time one guy was trying to do too much. I think when you share the ball and emphasize assists, you’re going to do good things.”
Behind Premer, the Panthers jumped out to a 20-8 lead after one quarter. Premer also starred defensively, keeping Hays junior Jack Weimer in check with just two points the entire night. Just two Indians scored in the second quarter as Great Bend extended the lead to 29-14 by halftime.
Indian senior Kyreese Groen opened the second half with a trey, but Panther senior Cayden Scheuerman answered the call with eight-straight points, including a pair of threes. Even when he missed, Hall was there for a stickback. The Panther lead grew to 49-22 by the end of the third quarter.
“I don’t think you go into any game thinking you’re going to run the clock,” Kriegh said. “I think we just wanted to hit some shots and make sure they didn’t get a ton of rebounds.”
Senior Truman Johnson was the lone Indian to reach double-figures with 13 points. Chason VanDerWege added eight points. Premer grabbed six boards to go with his 25 points for Great Bend. Scheuerman finished with eight points, and Carter Coombs added seven points.
Great Bend improves to 4-4. The Panthers knocked off unbeaten Emporia to close out 2022, then nearly took down unbeaten Garden City to open 2023.
“We don’t necessarily look at records,” said Kriegh. “We just take it day by day. If you want to look back, I wish we could play Sterling again, Sunrise again, Garden City. I think all those games came down to one or two possessions. I think we’ve been right there in all our losses except for Junction City, and we learned the most from Junction.”
Hays girls 63, Great Bend 45
If a pair of freshmen helped the Great Bend boys, the Hays girls turned to a pair of sophomores to pull away on the road. Katie Linenberger scored 14 of her 16 points in the first half, and Molly Martin also scored a team-high 16 points in the win. The Lady Panthers were hanging around at 25-19 midway through the second quarter before Hays closed out the first half on a 13-0 run to lead 38-19 at the break.
“I thought our girls just executed well,” said Hays coach Sean Dreiling. “Obviously, any time you make a few shots it helps. We had our fair share of misses, but we made a few big shots. We just executed some things offensively. Credit to Great Bend. They’re a heck of a team. Coach (Cindy) Beck does a heck of a job with them, so we were really pleased to go on a run like that at their place. You don’t count on those things but you’re always thankful when they happen.”
Junior Emilee Hall swished a long two to cut the gap to six points. Martin answered with an inbounds pass to Linenberger for two, then senior Claire Humphrey knocked down a three for a quick 5-0 run. Martin nailed her own trey, then picked up another assist to junior Jillyan Sheldon the big halftime lead.
Great Bend never seriously threatened again, getting as close as 44-32 with baskets from Hall and Sadie Spray to open the fourth quarter. Senior Carly Lang scored six of her 14 points in the final frame to keep Hays on top. The Lady Indians improve to 5-3 after going 16 of 28 from the floor in the first half.
“This team could be really dangerous if we shoot like we did tonight,” Dreiling said. “If we put a little pressure on teams and somehow find a way to get ahead and make teams press a little bit. But we haven’t been fortunate enough to shoot the ball like that every night. That’s going to be important for us is to continue to find ways to shoot the ball well.”
Humphrey and Sheldon each scored eight points for Hays. Hall scored 13 of her game-high 17 points for Great Bend in the first half. Spray added nine points, and sophomore Kara Feist scored all nine of her points from behind the arc in the second half. The Lady Panthers drop to 4-4 overall.
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