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Great Bend beats two-time defending Western Athletic Conference champion Dodge City
Josh Lutz (50) and Nick Warren (55) of Great Bend High School bang inside with Dodge Citys Staphan Gross (with basketball) during Friday nights action. - photo by Mack McClure Great Bend Tribune

DODGE CITY — After Brock Ibarra dialed up his first shot from long distance, Great Bend High School head basketball coach Chris Battin said he had a premonition that the senior guard would have a big night from 3-point range.
“When he hit that first one and I saw him get pumped up, I think it was a monkey off his back,” Great Bend head coach Chris Battin said of his senior shooting guard. “All of a sudden, he started relaxing and they started to fall. Brock did a great job stepping up and shooting the 3.”
Ibarra shot holes in Dodge City’s defense Friday night, burying 5 of 6 from downtown for a season-high 15 points, as the Panthers knocked off the Red Demons 49-43 at United Wireless Arena.
Junior guard Bryce Beck added a season- and team-high 16 points, his points coming on a variety of drives to the hoop, along with 8-for-10 free-throw shooting, as the Panthers knocked off Dodge City — the Western Athletic Conference champions in each of the last two seasons.
“Bryce starting driving it to the hole and got a couple (three-point plays),” Battin said. “I thought he really stepped up at the line at the end and did a really good job. I think it was important for us.
“We need those guys to step up.”
Power forward Ethan Henderson came up just shy of recording a double-double, netting nine points and grabbing 10 rebounds, as the Panthers (3-5 overall, 2-1 WAC) won for the second time this week, having beaten previously undefeated Hays on Tuesday in their home opener.
“I’m not surprised one bit,” Dodge City head coach Dennis Hamilton of Great Bend, which lost five of its first six games to start the season. “They’re confidence is at an all-time high right now and they’re going to down to the El Dorado tournament (which starts this Thursday) and make some noise.
“They’re aggressive, and they get after it. They’re a well-coached team.”
The Panthers, who nailed 6 of 10 3-pointers and finished 17 for 37 on total field goals (45.9 percent), withstood a pair of second-half comeback bids by the Red Demons.
Ibarra had a trio of 3s in the first half, as Great Bend, which was 4-for-6 on 3s in the opening 16 minutes, led 10-4 after one period and stretched the margin to 24-10 at halftime.
Great Bend had its biggest lead at 28-10 after Beck’s driving layup. But Shapan Gross hit consecutive 3s, sparking a 9-0 run to bring the Demons back into contention at 28-22 with 1:10 left in the third quarter.
Ibarra, a senior shooting guard, answered with back-to-back treys during the final 52 seconds of the period to kick the Panthers’ lead back up to 34-22 entering the fourth quarter.
“The first three, maybe he caught us off-guard out of our zone and he knocked down shots,” Hamilton said. “He’s on our scouting report as a shooter.”
The Panther scored the first five points of the final period before surviving another rush by the Demons (4-3, 1-1) in the fourth quarter.
“Late in the game, when it really, really, really mattered, we took care of the basketball,” Battin said. “We handled their traps and handled their pressure.
“It’s a big win for our team, just for our mental aspect, it’s a big win. I don’t think I’ve ever won in Dodge City. It’s a big win for us. We’ve got to keep that momentum going.”
Matt Goedeken totaled 11 points and Gross finished with 10 points for Dodge City, which shot 36.4 percent for the game (16 for 44), including only 5 for 20 from long distance (25 percent).
Great Bend, the No. 7 seed in the upcoming Bluestem Classic in El Dorado, plays No. 2 seed Wichita Collegiate in the first round on Thursday. The tournament runs through Saturday.

Western Athletic Conference



At Dodge City
United Wireless Arena

Great Bend 49, Dodge City 43
GREAT BEND (3-5, 2-1)
     Matt Marshall 0 0-2 0, Chad Touslee 2 0-0 4, Brock Ibarra 5 0-0 15, Bryce Beck 4 8-10 16, Gabe Joiner 1 0-0 3, Ethan Henderson 4 0-0 8, Josh Lutz 1 1-1 3, Nick Warren 0 0-0 0. Totals 17-37 9-12 49.
DODGE CITY (4-3, 1-1)
     Rashaan Taylor 1-0-0 2, Jackson Oldham 1 0-0 3, Zach Norton 0-1 0-0 0, Staphan Gross 4 0-0 10, Austin Weiser 1 0-0 2, Kelan Newton 4 1-4 9, Jace Larson 3 0-0 6, Matt Goedeken 2 5-6 11. Totals 16-44 6-10 43.
GBHS                                           10 14  10  15 — 49
DCHS                                             4    6  12  21 — 43
     Three-point goals — Great Bend 6-10 (Ibarra 5, Joiner 1); Dodge City 5-20 (Goedeken 2, Gross 2, Oldham 1). Total fouls — Dodge City 15, Great Bend 11. Fouled out — None.