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Blue Jays rally past Panthers in overtime
Iam Premer soars high.jpg
Great Bend Panther Iam Premer soars over Manhattan defenders and scores with a layup. - photo by Hugo Gonzalez


Ian Premer started Great Bend's basketball season with a slam dunk as the home crowd roared. Later on, he dunked again in traffic.

However, the craziest dunk of the night that didn't count by Junction City spiced a wild ending.

Junction City rallied from a 13-point deficit for a shocking 66-63 overtime victory over Great Bend to spoil Friday’s basketball opener for coach Kyle Kriegh.

The Blue Jays converted seven free throws as the Panthers missed their first five field goals attempts in overtime.

Carter Coombs drilled a 3-pointer to draw the Panthers within 62-61, but Blue Jay Larkin Turner scored on a breakaway for a 64-61. Cooper Ohnmacht gave the Panthers a chance with an amazing steal late in overtime, but Jackson Austin tipped a pass away that the Blue Jays recovered. Austin sealed the victory with two free throws.

The game featured the strangest ending you’ll ever see when Blue Jay Michael Boganowski grabbed the basketball at mid-court and dunked the ball several seconds after the final buzzer.

Great Bend outplayed and outhustled the talented Blue Jays, who feature quickness and speed. It was a tough setback for the Panthers, who led until just over two minutes were left in regulation. Premer was spectacular with 23 points backed by Maddox Spray (11) and Jacob Hall (9).

The Panthers made great strides from 2022 when the Blue Jays routed Great Bend 84-51 in one of coach Kriegh's worst losses.

“This proves what we’re capable of. We did a good job,” Kriegh said. “We stopped executing late in the game. We forced it. We need to share the basketball better. I’m proud of our guys the way we maintained our composure.”

Great Bend built a 13-point lead in the third quarter behind superb execution, but turnovers cost the Panthers a victory. After Parker Dicks drilled a 3-pointer for a 53-50 lead with 4:40 left, the Panthers committed five consecutive turnovers.

Premer rescued the Panthers in regulation after they committed five consecutive turnovers against a half-court trap. Boganowski gave the Blue Jays a 54-53 lead and Loveil Autry made a free throw for a 55-53 lead. Coombs drove the baseline and flipped a pass that Premer grabbed in heavy traffic for a basket and a 55-55 tie to send the game to overtime.

Coach Kriegh crafted a perfect game plan to attack the Blue Jays’ pressure. It worked for 21/2 quarters.

The Blue Jays roared to a 20-12 lead behind five 3-pointers. But the Panthers played superbly on a 20-5 to end the first half up 32-25. The Panthers continued to thrive as Premer scored twice. The Panthers led 46-33 when Ben Nicholson drilled a 3-pointer in the third quarter.

Junction City ended the quarter on a 8-0 run when Jackson Austin hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Ja-Twaan Williams converted a basket.

The Blue Jays swung the momentum with takeaways to end the third quarter and start the fourth quarter.

Larkin Turner (15), Jackson Austin (15) and Boganowski (13) scored in double figures for the Blue Jays, who converted 7 of 23 shots from 3-point range.

The Panthers head to Kingman next week and will play Kingman and Conway Springs.

Junction City 22 3 16 14 11 – 66

Great Bend 13 19 14 9 8 – 63

JUNCTION CITY (1-0)—Austin 4-13 3-4 15, Turner 6-12 2-2 15, Boganowski 6-10 0-0 13, Autry 1-4 4-6 6, Mitchell 0-3 0-0 0, Jackson 3-7 2-2 8, Williams 3-5 0-0 6, Ruffin 0-1 3-4 3, Totals 23-55 14-18 66

GREAT BEND (0-1)—Premer 11-19 0-0 23, Nicholson 1-1 0-0 3, Minton 1-1 0-0 3, Spray 2-7 7-11 111, Dicks 3-5 1-2 9, HHall 3-7 3-4 9, Coombs 2-5 0-0 5, Totals 23-45 11-17 63.

3-pointers—JC 7-23 (Austin 4-12, Boganowski 1-1, Turner 1-1, Williams 1-2, Autry 0-1, Ruffin 0-1, Jackson 0-2, Mitchell 0-3); GB 6-11 (Dicks 2-3, Nicholson 1-1, Minton 1-1, Coombs 1-2, Premer 1-3, Spray 0-1).