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Hard-luck Panthers lose again

POSTED January 12, 2018 10:24 p.m.

 BY JIM MISUNAS
jmisunas@gbtribune.com

GREAT BEND — It’s an old, but all-too-familiar script for the hard-luck Great Bend Panthers boys basketball team. Their hustling all-out comeback came up short again.

Dalton Miller handed the Panthers their final lead on a 3-point play with 5:08 left to lead the Buhler Crusaders 34-33.

But Buhler closed the game on an 11-2 scoring run for a 44-36 non-league basketball victory. The Panthers (1-7) missed their final eight field goals and committed four turnovers in the final quarter after rallying from a 14-point deficit.

“We got the lead twice and didn’t take care of the basketball the fourth quarter,” said Great Bend coach Tim Brooks. “Our defense is right there. We gave up 44 points against a team that plays tremendous offense inside and outside. That’s really a good offensive team we played tonight.” 
Reserve Isaac Beshore road to Buhler’s rescue, scoring six fourth-quarter points to spark the Crusaders. Beshore scored back-to-back baskets for a 39-34 lead and iced the victory with two free throws. Grant Owens’ basket gave Buhler the lead 35-34 to highlight a 14-point night. 
“Isaac is an instinctive player who found himself in the right place at the right time and his teammates found him,” said Buhler coach Ryan Swanson.

Buhler led 20-6 in the second quarter before struggling with the Panthers’ aggressive defense the rest of the night. The Panthers shut down Buhler’s 3-point shooters and collapsed on Owens inside.

“After we got behind, we played with a sense of urgency,” Brooks said. “We’d love to come out of the gates like that. We battled their big guy inside. We continue to go out and compete to try and get better.”

Brooks is encouraged by the execution of the defensive game plans.

“Hopefully, we can continue to grow as a basketball team,” Brooks said. “Our defense is playing well enough to win basketball games. We’ve got to continue to improve at the offensive end.”

The Panthers play Wichita Trinity at the El Dorado Tournament Thursday.

Buhler 14 6 9 15 – 44
GB 4 12 13 7 – 36
BUHLER (6-3) — Owens 6-10 2-6 14, Dalton Brown 3-7 1-4 9, Leshore 3-3 2-2 8, Hawkinson 2-5 0-0 5, Smyres 1-1 1-2 4, Dylan Brown 1-6 0-0 2, Totals 17-37 6-15 44.
GREAT BEND (1-7) — Miller 4-8 1-1 9, Steuder 4-7 0-0 8, Esfeld 2-7 2-3 6, Sam Ryan 2-8 0-0 6, Penka 1-4 1-2 3, Duvall 1-1 0-0 2, Brack 0-2 1-1 1, Blessing 0-3 0-0 0, Totals 14-40 5-8 36.
3-point goals—Buhler 4-11 (Dalton Brown 2-5, Hawkinson 1-1, Smyres 1-1, Dylan Brown 0-1, Schrag 0-3), GB 3-12 (Ryan 2-5, Penka 1-2, Esfeld 0-1, Blessing 0-1, Miller 0-1, Brack 0-2). Rebounds—Buhler 25 (Owens 10); GB 28 (Steuder 6). TO—Buhler 12, GB 13.

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