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Panthers take on Salina Central in Class 5A sub-state

POSTED February 28, 2012 11:20 p.m.

It’s postseason time for the seventh-seeded Great Bend High School Panthers, who travel to Salina Central tonight for first-round Class 5A sub-state basketball action. Tipoff is set for 7 inside the Central gymnasium.
It’s a time where valuing every possession is paramount, where every rebound, every basket and every free throw can provide the difference between winning and losing — where losing is not an option if you want to prolong your season.
Second-seeded Central, a member of the competitive Ark Valley-Chisolm Trail League, posted a 12-8 record during the regular season. The Panthers, members of the Western Athletic conference, finished 5-15 overall.
Great Bend head coach Chris Battin says he expects a blend of a potent perimeter game, as well as strong inside play, from the Mustangs.
“They’ve got a mix of both,” Battin said. “They have a couple kids that can score it inside and they’ve got some kids that can really shoot it from the outside, probably 40 percent or better.
“We’re going to have to be really solid on our assignments and knowing their personnel and where they like to score, to make sure we’re guarding people in the right spots. We’re just trying to get the game to our tempo.”
Central won half of its final four regular-season games, including beating Haysville-Campus 59-38 last Thursday, a Campus team GBHS toppled 45-31 in the seventh-place game of the El Dorado midseason tournament.
The Mustangs also registered a 49-46 win over crosstown rival Salina South.
Central junior post player Justin  Bengston had 15 points and  a season-high nine rebounds against South.  Mustangs 5-foot-11 guard Kyle McQuade added 14 points in that game.
After that win, Central lost tight games to Newton, 55-53, and Hutchinson, 52-51.
GBHS enters sub-state play with a six-game losing streak.
The top seed in sub-state play, with the final round to be played at Newton, is Goddard Eisenhower with a 16-4 record.
The winner of the Central-Great Bend game takes on the winner of Liberal (8-12) and Newton (6-14) on Friday night at 7:45.



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