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Hays girls power past Panthers
Makenzie Premer HGS_0686.jpg

BY JIM MISUNAS
jmisunas@gbtribune.com

Western Athletic girls champion Hays High has a perfect recipe to beat Great Bend. The Indians attacked the basket and dominated the rebounding 39-29 to dictate the tempo in a hard-fought 42-36 victory to end the regular season.

Hard-charging Molly Martin led the parade to the free throw line with 8 of 13 shooting and 12 points. Zoe Winter muscled inside for 12 points. The Indians converted 14 of 23 free throws to outscore the Panthers by 11 points at the stripe. The Indians’ rebounding led to extra offensive chances and didn’t allow the Panthers second-chance points.

The game featured two aggressive defensive teams that scrapped for every loose ball, triggering more than a dozen tie balls. Every pass and drive to the basket was met with resistance before a huge home crowd.

The Indians trailed 19-14 with Emilee Hall, Denver Ringo and Makenzie Premer scored before halftime. The Indians closed with a perfect 6-0 run on Martin’s 3-point play and Brigette Ross’ 3-point shot.

All-WAC Sadie Spray was brilliant with a 10-point first quarter and a game high 16 points. But when Spray went scoreless in the third period, Hays stretched a halftime lead of 20-19 to 25-21. Hall added eight points. Denver Ringo delivered a spark with five points and strong defense.

The Panthers misfired from the field with 9 of 33 shooting for three quarters against aggressive Indian defense. The Panthers made 6 of 15 shots in the fourth period.

Great Bend’s defense was superb enough to win.

The Panthers’ defense held the Indians to 10 of 37 shooting for three quarters. But the Panthers had no defense for 11 fourth-quarter free throws by the Indians.

Hall and Spray each scored four points in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers dug themselves too big of a deficit.

Great Bend (14-6, 5-3 WAC) ties Liberal for the runner-up spot in the WAC. The Panthers made great strides with their first winning record since 2017. The Panthers play Salina Central (10-10) at home next week and would play Emporia (19-1) or Topeka West (8-12) to qualify for the 5A state tournament for the first time since 2014.

Hays (15-5, 8-0 WAC) plays Goddard (9-11) at the Wichita Carroll (17-3) substate next week.

Hays High 9 11 5 17 – 42

Great Bend 10 9 2 15 – 36

HAYS (15-5, 8-0)—Martin 2-10 8-13 12, Zoe Winter 5-11 2-2 12, Linenberg 3-9 2-4 8, Kenlee Winter 0-5 1-2 1, Dreher 2-8 0-0 5, Ross 1-2 0-0 3, Buckles 0-2 1-2 1, Totals 13-47 14-23 42.

GREAT BEND (14-6, 5-3)—Spray 6-16 2-3 16, Hall 4-11 0-0 8, Thexton 1-1 0-0 2, Nicholson 0-1 0-0 0, McCauley 1-5 0-0 3, Premer 1-9 0-0 2, Ringo 2-5 1-4 5, Totals 15-48 3-7 36

3-pointers—H 2-12 (Ross 1-2, Dreher 1-5, Martin 0-2, K. Winter 0-3); GB 3-14 (Spray 2-5, McCauley 1-5, Ringo 0-1, Premer 0-3)

5A WEST GIRLS SUBSTATES

ANDOVER—2-28—Andover 20-0 vs. Goddard Eisenhower 6-14, 7; 2-28—Wichita Kapaun-Mt. Carmel 12-8 vs. Hutchinson 12-8, 7; 3-2—Championship

MAIZE—2-28—Maize South 19-1 vs. Arkansas City 7-13, 7; 2-28—Valley Center 13-7 vs. Salina South 11-9, 7; 3-2—Championship

EMPORIA—2-28—2-28—Emporia 19-1 vs. Topeka West 8-12, 7; 2-28—Great Bend 14-6 vs. Salina Central 10-10, 7; 3-2—Championship

WICHITA—2-28—Wichita Carroll 17-3 vs. Andover Central 9-11, 7; 2-28—Hays High 15-5 vs. Goddard 9-11, 7:30; 3-2—Championship

 NO POSTSEASON—Newton 2-15