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Junction City overpowers Panther boys
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Great Bend High School Dalton Miller (10) shoots as Junction City’s AJ Dickerson defends on Tuesday night in Great Bend. - photo by Jim Misunas

The Great Bend Panthers scored more free throws than Junction City, thanks to a trio of technical fouls called against the Blue Jays. Two of the technicals were whistled against the Blue Jays’ Qua’vez Humphreys and A.J. Dickerson for dunking at halftime.

Humphreys was apparently tuning up for the real show with a trio of slam dunks that counted during the Blue Jays’ 28-point rout. Dickerson checked out early after a spectacular 17-point outing by drawing a second technical foul. Humphreys added 10 points in the Panthers’ home basketball opener.

Other than that, the Blue Jays’ aggressive trapping defense was on full display, forcing 29 Great Bend turnovers that fed a hungry Blue Jay fast break attack. Junction City showed off superior quickness that trapped the Panther ballhandlers all over the court.

“It’s impossible to prepare for that,” said Great Bend coach Tim Brooks. “A lot of their scoring was off their defense. They are good basketball players, tremendous physical players. They play extremely hard with a physical style. Defensively, they really get after you.”

Physically, Brooks knew the Panthers were overmatched by the Blue Jays’ superior speed and quickness. But he didn’t like when the Panthers made poor decisions with the basketball or moving to the basketball with a purpose.

“We must cut down on our mental mistakes,” Brooks said. “We didn’t control our mental mistakes. We’re the type of rebounding team that has to block out of every possession. We had guys standing around too much.”

The Panthers actually played competent defense. Defensive standout Brock Blessing drew a trio of charges and Dalton Miller and Nick Wondra also drew charging fouls. Wondra forced an open court turnover that delivered a Panther basket.

“We played pretty good defense that first half,” Brooks said. “Our own turnovers hurt us.”

The Blue Jays led 26-11 at halftime because the Panthers converted 2 of 19 first-half field goals. The Panthers finished 1 of 13 from long range,  shot that the Blue Jays were more than happy to give them.

“We didn’t shoot it very well,” Brooks said.

The Panthers trailed by 29 points, just about to trigger a running clock with a 30-point lead. But the Panthers strung together some really solid offensive possessions. Sam Ryan scored a trio of third-quarter baskets. Dalton Miller hustled for five second-half points that helped trim the margin to 20 points in the fourth quarter. The Panthers converted 11 second-half free throws. Miller and Ryan each scored eight points. Point guard Alex Schremmer was sidelined after sustaining a concussion last week at Hays.

The Panthers (0-4) return home Friday against Salina Central. 

JC   13  13  25  12 — 63

GB    5    6  12  12 — 35

JC (2-0)—Dickerson 7-13 3-4 17; Twiggs 1-3 1-1 3; Hall 3-4 2-4 8; Battiste 2-4 1-1 5; Hamilton 3-8 0-0 8; Dixon 1-1 4-4 7; Humphreys 4-6 2-3 10; Westerhaus 2-7 0-0 5; Totals 23-46 13-17 63

GB (0-4)—Miller 2-7 4-6 8; Sam Ryan 3-5 2-4 8; Duvall 1-5 4-4 7; Wondra 0-2 2-2 2; Widiger 0-2 2-2 2; Blessing 0-3 1-2 1; Stueder 1-3 0-0 2; Kuhlman 0-1 0-0 0; Ortiz 0-2 0-0 0; Hall 0-2 0-0 0; Olivas 2-9 1-2 5; Totals 9-40 16-22 35

3-point goals—JC 4-17 (Hamilton 2-5, Dixon 1-1, Westerhaus 1-6, Humphreys 0-1, Dickerson 0-4); GB 1-13 (Duvall 1-4, Kuhlman 0-1, Ortiz 0-1, Ryan 0-1, Miller 0-2, Olivas 0-4)