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Panthers outlast Garden City girls
Great Bend's Mersadie Spray drives to the basket and scores for the Panthers.jpg
Great Bend's Mersadie Spray drives to the basket and scores for the Panthers on a tight match-up against Garden City Buffaloes. - photo by Hugo Gonzalez


Great Bend's MaKenzie Premer eyed Garden City standout Aileen Becerril and anticipated her next move. Sure enough, Premer drew a game-changing charging when Becerril's pushed off for her fourth foul with six minutes left.

Premer limited Becerril to five points on 2 of 6 shooting and drew a late charging call that fouled out leading scorer Amaya Gallegos. Premer's stout defense keyed a hard-fought 44-37 Western Athletic Conference basketball victory. 

"I had my feet set and she ended up charging over me," Premer said. "I knew I'd switch between 11 (Becerril) and 23 (Gallegos). I stayed right up on them and fought through screens. I knew my teammates would help me if I got beat. My team was behind me all the way." 

Great Bend Panther Sadie Spray rode to the offensive rescue with 12 fourth-quarter points. Spray converted three field goals and five free throws. She hit a 3-pointer for a 31-28 lead and sealed the victory with four free throws.

Spray scored 16 points and Emilee Hall added eight points. Garden City's Gallegos and Kristin Roth each scored 10 points. Great Bend (6-10, 1-4) heads to No. 7 state-ranked 3A Hays Thomas More Prep (14-3) Tuesday. 

Garden City (2-14, 1-4) missed several golden opportunities, converting 1 of 6 free throws down 40-36. After Roth made a free throw for a 40-37 score, Spray converted two free throws and Premer drew a charging foul on Gallegos.

The Buffaloes converted 12 of 46 field goals, 26%. Sadie Spray had four steals as the Buffaloes committed 15 turnovers. Emma Loomis was the Panthers' other key defender.

"We came after Becerril defensively," said Great Bend coach Cindy Beck. "We did a good job frustrating Garden City defensively. Emma Loomis and Kenzie (Premer) buckled down and defended their strong players. They both did an awesome job." 

The Panthers converted 14 of 49 field goals for 28%, but made 12 of 16 free throws.

"We had big stops," Beck said. "Our defense has developed. We're better defending the drop step and their drives. We made them hit shots over us. After our huddles, we came out with confidence. When you play league, teams are familiar with you. You know their players and they compete." 

Garden City 9 9 8 11 – 37 

Great Bend 12 10 8 16 – 44

GARDEN CITY (2-14, 1-4)–Gallegos 4-14 0-2 10,Roth 3-7 4-11 10, Becerril 2-6 0-0 5, Pinchon 1-2 2-2 4, Lucas 1-7 2-2 4, Teach 1-5 0-0 3, Mesa 0-3 1-2 1, Warren 0-2 0-0 0,  Totals 12-46 9-19 37.

GREAT BEND (6-10, 1-4)–Spray 4-13 7-9 16, Hall 2-13 4-4 8, Warren 3-4 1-3 7, Premer 2-7 0-0 5, Kaiser 2-9 0-0 5, Emma Loomis 1-2 0-0 3, Kara Feist 0-1 0-0 0, Totals 14-49 12-16 44.

3-pointers–GC 4-21 (Gallegos 2-8, Becerril 1-3, Teach 1-3, Warren 0-2, Lucas 0-2, Mesa 0-3); GB 4-16 (E. Loomis 1-2, Premer 1-3, Kaiser 1-3, Spray 1-4).