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Bluejays outlast Panthers' rally
Sydney Unruh
Great Bend Panther Sydney Unruh (15) drives against McPherson’s Kassidy Beam (3). - photo by Jim Misunas, Great Bend Tribune


JUNCTION CITY – The Great Bend girls basketball team exhibited a remarkable comeback ability with a pair of opening wins.

Playing with a 10-point lead didn't work nearly as well. The Panthers rallied for victories against Scott City and Holcomb after trailing by double digits.

Junction City erased a 10-point deficit with aggressive defense and rebounding for a resounding 49-42 non-league basketball victory Friday. The Bluejays turned offensive rebounds into extra points and added six 3-pointers.

The Panthers wilted after halftime with 5 of 30 field goals for 17 percent accuracy. The Bluejays' physical style pushed the Panthers into quick and inefficient shooting. Great Bend made 5 of 23 from 3-point range, 17 percent.

The Panthers didn't make the extra pass and shot the ball quicker than they would've preferred.

"We got sped up and forced up shots," said Great Bend coach Cindy Beck. "We could've worked for better shots. We made silly mistakes."

The Panthers (2-1) led early 15-5 as sparkplug Sydney Unruh scored nine points and Sadie Spray added five points. The game got away defensively in the next 11 minutes as the Bluejays outscored the Panthers 18-8 for a 23-23 halftime tie. Lucy Rivera beat the Panthers' defense for 11 first-half points and the Bluejays made a trio of 3-pointers.

The game stayed even in the third quarter as Spray hit two baskets. Junction City's Andrea Davis hit two unguarded 3-pointers and Dorian Robinson's basket handed the Bluejays a 35-33 lead after three quarters. 

Taryn Warren's free throws sliced the lead to 38-37. But Rivera hit back-to-back baskets  and passed to Mellana Davis for a 44-37 lead with under four minutes.

The Panthers' 7 of 8 free throw shooting kept the Bluejays within range. But Rivera scored 17 points off drives and Andrea Davis scored 14 perimeter points without any defensive pressure.

"Some of the skills we coach defensively caught up with us," Beck said. "It hurt us tonight."

Unruh led the Panthers with 11 points and Spray added 10 points. But Unruh made 1 of 7 second-half field goals. The Panthers made 1 of 12 shots from 3-point range after halftime.

"We can learn from this," Beck said. "Every game is a learning experience."

The Panthers return home Tuesday against Larned.

Great Bend 15 8 10 9 – 42

Junction City 11 12 12 14 – 49

GREAT BEND (2-1)–Sydney Unruh 4-15 0-0 11, Sadie Spray 4-9 1-1 10, Kaiser 2-17 2-4 7, Warren 1-2 5-6 7, Hall 2-6 1-2 5, Hannah Loomis 0-4 2-2 2, Harbaugh 0-5 0-0 0, Emma Loomis 0-1 0-0 0, Totals 13-59 11-15 42

JUNCTION CITY (1-1)–Lucy Rivera 6-20 4-7 17, Andrea Davis 5-12 0-0 14, Mellana Davis 4-15 3-4 11, Harris 2-5 0-0 5, Robinson 1-1 0-0 2, DeGuzman 0-3 0-4 0, Totals 18-55 6-15 49

3-pointers–GB 5-23 (Unruh 3-11, Spray 1-3, Kaiser 1-8, H. Loomis 0-1), JC 6-21 (A. Davis 4-9, J. Harris 1-4, Rivera 1-7, M. Davis 0-1).