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Panthers' defense leads victory
Alex Olivas24A
Great Bend Panther Alex Olivas (24) waits to attempt a field goal against Garden City.


If defense wins championships, the Great Bend Panthers are on target for a Western Athletic Conference basketball championship. The Panthers held off Garden City 45-35 Friday for a crucial WAC victory by holding the Buffaloes to 30 percent shooting. 

Great Bend (13-4, 4-1 WAC) shares first place with Hays High (10-6, 4-1). The Panthers travel to 3A state-ranked Hays-Thomas More Prep Tuesday.

The Panthers' frustration level nearly boiled over in a slow-moving third quarter that saw the Panthers try five field goals. But Garden City was equally buffaloed by Great Bend's defense that allowed one field goal in 13 offensive possessions. The quarter ended when the officials didn't see a pushing foul by Garden City's Trey Nuzum. The Panthers kept their composure despite a third-quarter 8-2 foul differential.

Peyton Duvall drilled a 3-pointer to end the third quarter for a 30-24 lead. Alex Schremmer nailed a 3-pointer, scored eight points and fed Alex Olivas for a crucial fourth-quarter score. Dalton Miller and Olivas hustled for back-breaking second-chance baskets.

"It's a credit to our toughness," said Great Bend coach Tim Brooks. "We did a good job adhering to our scouting report. We took a lot of what Garden City wants to do away."

As usual, Dalton Miller earned his stripes by defending Buffalo Azauer Williams, who scored 14 points off some forced shots in traffic. The Buffaloes made 3 of 18 3-pointers.

"Williams is super quick with a lot of moves," Brooks said. "Dalton did a nice job from letting him drive left. He's a quality player."

Schremmer scored 16 points and Duvall added nine points. The Panthers outscored the Buffaloes 21-9 from long range. Sparkplug Ray Kuhlman scored eight points and gave the Panthers an early spark with six first-quarter points off perfect back-door cuts.

"We trust everyone to make the right read," Kuhlman said. "It makes us hard to guard. We moved the ball around and I got some sneaky buckets. I like games like this because it makes everyone work hard."

Kuhlman said the Panthers want to attack when teams double team point guard Schremmer.

"Alex is a great player. But if we make the right read and cut off people, we can get some easy buckets," Kuhlman said. "It's beautiful when we play that way." 

Garden City 13 7 7 11 — 35

Great Bend 13 9 8 15 — 45

GARDEN CITY (7-9, 1-4)—Williams 5-14 2-4 14, Rosales 1-6 0-0 2, Flores 0-4 0-0 0, Tolbert 2-7 0-0 5, Wiese 1-4 3-3 5, Tanner 2-5 1-2 5, Nuzum 2-3 0-0 4, Totals 13-43 6-9 35.

GREAT BEND (13-4, 5-1)—Schremmer 4-11 5-6 16, Duvall 3-7 0-0 9, Kuhlman 4-5 0-0 8, Wondra 1-1 0-0 2, Brown 1-1 0-0 2, Sam Ryan 0-1 0-0 0, Miller 1-3 0-0 2, Dunekack 0-0 1-2 1, Olivas 2-5 0-0 5, Totals 16-34 6-8 45.

3-pointers—GC 3-18 (Williams 2-8, Tolbert 1-4, Wiese 0-1, Flores 0-2, Rosales 0-3), GB 7-18 (Duvall 3-7, Schremmer 3-8, Olivas 1-2, Ryan 0-1).