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Garden City escapes with 57-56 win over Panthers
Ian Premer
Great Bend Panther Ian Premer (14) scores one of his three slam dunks against Larned. - photo by Janet Fleske Special to the Tribune


GARDEN CITY – Garden City standout point guard Emilio Zundt would determine whether the Buffaloes would survive Great Bend’s fourth-quarter rally. The No. 7 state-ranked 5A Panthers forced a 56-56 tie when Daxton Minton, Ian Premer and Maddox Spray scored consecutive baskets.

Zundt was spectacular at times with 16 points and dazzling assists. But he also converted 5 of 17 field goals and committed costly turnovers. The Buffaloes made 8 of 32 3-pointers (25%).

On the final possession, Zundt outfoxed a double team by Carter Coombs and Spray. He got fouled with eight seconds left and converted the game-winning free throw as the defending WAC champions opened their title defense with a thrilling 57-56 victory Friday.

“We knew that’s what he could do. He broke us down and made them look good,” said Great Bend coach Kyle Kriegh. “We’ve got a lot of guys who have played against him the past three years.”

Great Bend’s Coombs pushed the ball upcourt, but the Panthers were unable to launch a final field goal attempt.

Garden City (4-4, 1-0 WAC) took control of the game late in the first half fueled by a pair of 3-pointers by Kolten Davis and a 3-pointer by Kolten Burns. The Buffaloes gained two bonus points on Zundt’s two free throws when Coombs drew a technical foul.

As usual, Ian Premer sparked a second-half rally with a 21-point night that included 2 of 8 free throw shooting. Spray added 10 points and Jacob Hall scored nine points.

Great Bend had two chances to take the lead. Premer missed a pair of free throws with the Panthers trailing 46-45 after three quarters. Coombs converted three free throws, but missed the fourth try with a 50-50 tie.

Garden City’s Raul Munoz scored two baskets and Burns scored a basket for a 56-50 lead.

The Panthers nearly pulled out a road victory.

“Anything can happen in the WAC,” Kriegh said. “Our guys were not focused.”

Great Bend 14 15 16 11 – 56

Garden City 15 22 9 11 – 57

GREAT BEND (6-2, 0-1)—Premer 9-12 2-8 21, Spray 4-8 2-2 10, Hall 4-9 0-0 9, Dicks 2-7 1-2 6, Minton 2-3 0-1 4, Nicholson 1-4 0-0 3, Coombs 0-3 3-4 3, Ohnmacht 0-1 0-0 0, Totals 22-47 8-17 56.

GARDEN CITY (4-4, 1-0)—Zundt 5-17 4-7 16, Burns 5-13 0-0 12, Davis 3-6 0-0 9, Munoz 4-5 0-0 8, Rosales 1-2 0-0 2, Monarrez 1-7 0-0 3, Loga 3-4 1-2 7, Totals 22-54 5-9 57.

3-pointers—GB 4-10 (Nicholson 1-1, Premer 1-2, Hall 1-2, Dicks 1-4, Spray 0-1); GC 8-32 (Davis 3-6, Burns 2-7, Zundt 2-11, Monarrez 1-6, Rosales 0-1, Munoz 0-1).