Weimer hits buzzer beater, Hays advances past Great Bend

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 3:52 PM CST
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HAYS, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - As the old adage goes, it’s tough to beat an opponent three times in one season. A split between Western Athletic Conference rivals Hays and Great Bend in the regular-season assured that would not happen in Tuesday’s Class 5A substate game. The Panther won big at home in January, then Hays won a close game Friday to secure the substate rematch on their home court. It paid off with junior Jack Weimer hitting a three-pointer just before the buzzer to send the Indians to the next round with a 46-42 win.

The fourth quarter turned into a back-and-forth with several lead changes. Great Bend freshman Ian Premer swished a three with 3:30 to play to give the Panthers a 38-37 win. Hays pulled back ahead by three when Great Bend senior Caden Scheuerman banked in a game-tying shot with 37 ticks left. Weimer held the ball for the last shot.

“I was out there for like 30 seconds,” he said. “In that moment, I’m just thinking what move to make. In that situation, I’m just trying to draw a foul. I thought I got fouled but thankfully it ended up back in our hands.”

No foul was called and Weimer’s drive missed the mark, but the subsequent rebound by Great Bend was called out of bounds. That gave the ball back to Hays underneath their own basket with 4.7 seconds remaining. Senior Devin Schmidtberger had hit five threes on the night, so he was the obvious target.

“We drew up one of our inbound plays for Dev to hit a three,” Weimer said. “I hadn’t made a three all night. The coaches still had faith in me. We totally switched the play up and ran a double-screen down for me. Caught it, fade, wide open. I knew it felt good. I was just happy to see one go in. I hadn’t made one all night and I’ve been struggling from there. I love that the coaches still have faith in me.”

Officials added 1.3 seconds back on the clock to keep the door open for Great Bend. The inbounds pass resulted in a turnover and foul. Junior Kyzer Fox scored the final point of the game from the free throw line with a tenth of a second left.

Great Bend dominated January’s first meeting, coming up one basket shy of a running clock at one point. The teams met again in the regular-season finale with Hays hanging on for a win. The winner of that game was going to host the other in the first round of the playoffs.

“Going into the game Friday, we knew we had something to prove because they beat us pretty bad there,” said Weimer. “That win felt really good. It was huge beating them then because we got to meet them back on our home court.”

Schmidtberger was big all night but especially early on with a pair of threes in the first quarter. Hays opened up a 14-8 lead after one quarter. The Indians never trailed in the first half, but the Panthers closed the gap to 20-18 by halftime.

Great Bend took its first lead of the game three minutes into the second half with a three-pointer from senior Carter Coombs. Another trey from freshman Jacob Hall kept the Panther lead at 29-27 midway through the frame.

After back-and-forth action in the fourth quarter, the Panthers had the two-point advantage late. A missed opportunity near the rim spelled the beginning of the end for the Panthers, who had two crucial turnovers late.

Coombs paced Great Bend with 10 points. Hall added eight points, and Scheuerman and Premer each scored seven points. Schmidtberger missed just one time from behind the arc to finish with 15 points. Weimer added 12 points, and Fox finished with seven points. Senior Chason VanDerWege had nine rebounds to go with his two points.