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Perfect play rescues Panthers 39-38
Stefan Spray shoots.jpg
Great Bend's Stefan Spray shoots a basket against Garden City on Friday night. - photo by Hugo Gonzalez

A perfect offensive play rescued the Great Bend Panthers.

Stefan Spray converted the game-winner for a thrilling 39-38 Western Athletic Conference basketball victory over Garden City. 

Cole Streck's pick shielded Spray's defender Caleb Wiebe. Sage Koelsch delivered an assist past Chris Grant and Spray scored inside against Isaac Flores with three seconds left.

"It's huge. We executed it great and Cole set a great pick," said Great Bend coach Tim Brooks. "Thanks to everyone who contributed to this team win."

Paco Hernandez deflected the Buffaloes' first inbounds pass out of bounds with 2.2 seconds left. Cayden Scheuerman and Koelsch challenged a pass to Grant on the game's final play. 

Garden City's Chris Grant drove past Spray and delivered a stunning slam dunk with 16 seconds left in regulation for a 38-37 lead. 

Brooks' crafty decision kept sparkplug Joseph Moeder on the court after halftime despite a third foul (5:21, 3rd) and fourth foul (3:01, 4th). 

"Joseph has come a long way," Brooks said. "It's his persistence. He does a lot of things well."

Moeder delivered a career high 14 points keyed by two assists by Koelsch and Spray and timely assists by Brayton Council and Hernandez.

"I credit my teammates for every point," Moeder said. "We knew Garden City would pressure at the top of the key and I kept moving on the baseline. They kept finding me."

Sage Koelsch scored 10 points and Spray finished with eight points. The Panthers converted 7 of 12 field goals in the fourth period.

The Panthers (3-3, 1-0 WAC) battled uphill all night after trailing 22-13 at halftime plagued by 13 turnovers. 

"I credit coach Brooks," Moeder said. "He kept us positive and kept us believing in what we were doing." 

The Buffaloes (0-1, 0-1 WAC) played 12 players in their season debut. The stylish Grant missed 13 minutes after sitting out with two first-half fouls .Grant and Isaac Flores each scored 10 points.

The Panthers kept switching defenses and kept the Buffaloes off balance with 7 of 33 shooting through three quarters. The Buffaloes made 1 of 10 field goals with five third-quarter turnovers.

"We switched defenses and trapped out of it," Brooks said. "Our length gave them trouble."

Joseph Moeder and Mathew Moeder each drew a charging foul. The Panthers battled on every possession

"I credit our kids' fight, which meant a lot to the final outcome," Brooks said. "It was fun to see our energy on the bench and see our guys get excited."

Joseph Moeder scored six fourth-quarter points. Koelsch's four throws gave the Panthers a 37-35 lead. Sam Hall and Paco Hernandez scored fourth-quarter baskets.

The Buffaloes misfired with 8 of 16 second-half foul shooting.


 Garden City 10 12 3 13 — 38

Great Bend 5 8 10 16 — 39

GC (0-1, 0-1)—Flores 2-7 4-5 10, Chris Grant 3-5 4-7 10, Tolbert 2-11 1-4 6, Wiese 2-5 1-2 5, Nuzum 1-3 1-1 3, Rosales 0-2 2-2 2, Ramsey 0-0 2-2 2, Koksal 0-1 0-0 0, Christian Reyes 0-2 0-0 0, Isaiah Reyes 0-3 0-0 0, Metzen 0-3 0-0 0, Totals 10-43 15-23 38

GB (1-0, 3-3)—Joseph Moeder 6-7 2-4 14, Koelsch 2-5 5-8 10, Stefan Spray 4-11 0-2 8, Sam Hall 1-4 1-2 3, Hernandez 1-2 0-0 2, Streck 0-5 2-3 2, Totals 14-34 10-19 39

3-pointers—GC 3-16 (Flores 2-5, Rosales 0-2, I. Reyes 0-2, Tolbert 1-7), GB 1-12 (Koelsch 1-3, Spray 0-4, Streck 0-5)