DODGE CITY – The season
may be over, but for the Great Bend Middle School 8th-grade girls’
basketball team, the excitement is still going strong.
Hard work and dedication during the off season as well as the team motto of “Stay Hungry, Stay Humble” proved to be successful with a Western Athletic Conference championship.
In the championship game at Dodge City, GBMS faced Liberal Eisenhower which upset the Panthers 20-17 earlier in the season.
A scorekeeper error gifted Eisenhower an extra point, so Eisenhower led 14-13 at halftime.
The Panthers scored three baskets to gain second-half momentum. A switch to 2-3 zone defense led to a 25-19 lead after three quarters.
GBMS did a solid job taking care of the ball and scored a hard-fought 27-24 victory.
Macy Nachtigal scored a season high 16 points, followed by Paige Thexton with four, Mersadie Spray, Emilee Hall and Makenzie Premer with two points each.
The Lady Panthers (12-2) captured back-to-back middle school basketball titles.
“They deserve to be back-to-back WAC champions,” said Great Bend coach Kyle Jeffrey. “This is a great team with great kids, and great parents for supporting them. I’m proud of the girls’ ability to know when to run and when to play smart. They’ve been working at this for years. I was blessed to be their coach this year.”
The Panthers rode a six-game winning streak against Hays Middle School. The Panthers led by as many as 18 points in a fast-paced semifinal game. Ten players saw solid minutes.
“I was proud of the girls for playing hard and unselfish. Fifty-six points was the most we had scored, and it came against a good team,” Jeffrey said.
Sadie Spray led the team with 19 points and Macy Nachtigal added 12. Emilee Hall, Paige Thexton and Annah Baldwin each scored six points. Other scorers were Makenzie Premer (5) and Addy Nicholson (2). Contributing strong defense were Ava Gregg, Ashton McMillen and Lauryn Davis to keep the Lady Indians off balance.