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Great Bend surprises Hutchinson girls
Sadie Spray.jpg
Great Bend's Said Spray scores two points with a layup against Hutchinson. - photo by Hugo Gonzalez

Great Bend Panther Sadie Spray misfired twice, but converted on her third try for the game-clinching score.

Consistent effort pushed the aggressive Panthers past 6A Hutchinson High 41-32 in Friday's non-league basketball game. The Panthers forced 23 Salthawk turnovers and scored bonus points on second-chance baskets.

Great Bend (4-4) started sharp, leading 8-4 by converting five early Hutchinson turnovers. The Salthawks responded by converting four 3-pointers for a 20-12 lead.

But the Panthers upped their defensive intensity by stifling Hutchinson without a field goal for 11 minutes. 

Panther Sydney Unruh said helpside defense was the key. 

"Our help defense was a lot better," Unruh said. "We worked a lot on defense in practice. Tonight, we showed more energy and worked better as a team. Our posts were really aggressive inside. It was a good feeling to stay relaxed and keep the momentum going.":

The Panthers forced 14 Hutchinson turnovers in the second and third quarters. 

"We played solid defense and got turnovers," said Great Bend coach Cindy Beck. "We crashed the boards, which is tough to do. Sadie Spray, Taryn Warren, Candice Smith and Ashlyn Harbaugh battled all night."   

Great Bend converted its near-perfect defensive stretch into a game-changing 17-2 scoring run for a 29-22 lead halfway through the third quarter.

"They maintained confidence and kept their heads up," Beck said. "We had a lull, but we were getting good looks. We got a few shots to fall. It was a great team effort. We did a nice job with our energy and cheering each other on. They're a great group of girls that work and play hard."

Hutchinson (3-3) rallied with four free throws and baskets by Hannah Ames and Libby Jackson to climb within 31-30.

Spray's hustling 3-point play sealed the victory on her third attempt. The Panthers' Emilee Hall fed Ashlyn Harbaugh and Halle Latham on perfect backdoor passes for two well-executed late-game baskets. Spray scored 12 points, Unruh seven and Smith and Harbaugh six apiece.

"They pressured up when they were down. Our girls did a nice job when they were covered, they backdoor cut. we saw it and finished it."

Hutchinson's Grayci Keeler scored eight points and Mya Thompson added seven points.

The Panthers (4-4, 0-2 WAC) travel to No. 8 6A Dodge City (8-0, 1-0 WAC) Tuesday.

Hutchinson 15 7 6 4 — 32

Great Bend 12 12 7 10 — 41

HUTCHINSON (3-3)—Keeler 2-4 2-2 8, Thompson 1-3 5-6 7, Wilson 2-8 0-2 5, Jackson 0-3 5-8 5, Ames 2-3 0-0 4, Moriasi 1-5 0-0 3, Ackley 0-2 0-0 0, Tomac 0-1 0-1 0, Totals 8-29 12-19 32

GREAT BEND (4-4)—Sadie Spray 5-15 1-4 12, Sydney Unruh 3-6 0-0 7, Harbaugh 1-2 4-6 6, Smith 2-7 2-2 6, Warren 1-3 3-4 5, Latham 2-6 1-2 5, Kaiser 0-1 0-0 0, Hall 0-6 0-0 0, Totals 14-47 11-18 41

3-pointers—H 4-17 (Keeler 2-4, Moriasa 1-4, Wilson 1-4, Ackley 0-2, Jackson 0-3), GB 2-7 (Unruh 1-2, Spray 1-2, Kaiser 0-1, Latham 0-2)