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Garden City's boys beat Panthers
stefan spray dunk
COURTESY PHOTO Dan Witt Great Bend Panther Stefan Spray (21) converts a slam dunk against Garden City in a 58-47 Western Athletic Conference basketball loss Friday.


When Stefan Spray slammed home a dunk off Sage Koelsch's lob pass, Great Bend had sliced Garden City's 20-point lead to 38-34 in the third quarter with a homecoming crowd roaring. 

However, a potential fourth charging call drawn by defensive wizard Joseph Moeder went Garden City's way, igniting a game-clinching 9-0 scoring run. Jake Underwood's basket counted and Brandon Springston, Caleb Wiese and Jace Steinmetz followed with scores for a 46-37 Buffalo lead.

The Panthers never rallied again as Garden City avenged a home setback with a 58-47 Western Athletic Conference punctuated by 8 of 21 3-point shooting and bonus points on second-chance scores. Rosales and Steinmetz drilled 3-pointers on second-chances and Wiese scored six points off rebounds.

The Panthers lost focus after Spray's slam dunk and often settled for 3-pointers with no luck, missing all eight attempts after halftime.

"We need to keep our composure," said Great Bend coach Kyle Kriegh. "You try not to get too high, but you've got to keep playing. We didn't make any 3-pointers the second half. We've got to share the basketball better."

Spray was a tower of power with 22 points and several basket-saving blocked shots. Everyone else converted 9 of 33 shots, 27%. Koelsch and Carter Coombs each added six points. Joseph Moeder drew three charging fouls to reach 24 charges drawn this season. Stefan Spray also performed solidly on defense.

The Buffaloes (8-8, 2-3) blitzed the Panthers from the start with an opening 10-0 burst on four consecutive field goals. Garden City converted four early turnovers into scores off attacking pressure defense. Steinmetz, Wiese and Tae Rosales each scored nine first-half points that sparked an opening 27-7 lead.

Garden City dictated the game's intensity from the outset, and the Panthers didn't respond until they faced a 20-point deficit.

"Defensively, we weren't locked in like we wanted," Kriegh said. "They scored a lot of second-chance points and had multiple players score in double figures. After that, it's an uphill battle."

Wiese (16), Steinmetz (14) and Rosales (13) scored in double figures. The Buffaloes converted eight 3-pointers to outscore the Panthers 24-12 from long range.

"We bounced back, but when you get down 20 points, it's an uphill battle," Kreigh said.

The Panthers (6-10, 2-3) travel to Hays-Thomas More Prep (12-3) Tuesday. 

Garden City 22 13 12 11 – 58

Great Bend 7 21 8 11 – 47

GARDEN CITY (8-8, 2-3)–Wiese 6-12 3-4 16, Steinmetz 5-12 0-2 14, Koksal 1-4 0-0 2, Springston 1-2 0-0 2, Ramsey 2-2 3-7 7, Underwood 1-3 0-1 2, Guevara 1-4 0-0 2, Totals 21-47 8-18 58.

GREAT BEND (6-10, 2-3)–Stefan Spray 8-17 5-8 22, Koelsch 1-7 3-5 6, Stuhlsatz 1-1 0-0 2, Maddox Spray 1-2 0-0 2, Council 2-5 0-0 5, Joseph Moeder 2-7 0-0 4, Coombs 2-10 1-2 6, Totals 17-50 8-18 47.

3-pointers–GC 8-21 (Steinmetz 4-9, Rosales 3-5, Wiese 1-3, Springston 0-1, Koksal 0-2), GB 4-18 (Koelsch).