It seemed as though both Great Bend High School’s and Dodge City’s girls spent much of their Western Athletic Conference basketball clash trying to give the game back to each other.
In a low-scoring game on Friday night at Panther Fieldhouse, the Lady Panthers came up shy in their quest to knock off the defending conference champion and current first-place team, falling 28-26.
DCHS improved to 12-5 overall and 4-1 in the WAC, while Great Bend dropped to 6-11, 3-3.
“We not only had one chance to take over the game,” Great Bend head coach Jason Tatkenhorst said. “We had a lot of chances and that’s what is so frustrating that we didn’t take advantage of it.
“Playing a team with the caliber of Dodge City, for us to have a chance to win in the final possession, we had that chance and that’s all you can ask for.”
Great Bend senior forward Cassidy Tutak scored all eight of her points in the third quarter, as the Lady Panthers clung to a 21-20 lead entering the fourth period.
Early in the final quarter, junior forward Liz Kutina made the second of two free throws and senior forward Jordan Haney swished an 8-footer from the right baseline with 6:03, knotting the score at 23.
Dodge City guard Brenna Briggs converted a pair of free throws, and power forward A’zlynn Thompson’s basket gave the Lady Demons a 27-23 advantage.
GBHS senior shooting guard Lexie Brack answered by scoring her only points of the game on a 3-pointer from the left wing with 3:18 remaining, carving the gap to 27-26.
DCHS point guard Kesha Buckner made 1 of 2 free throws for a 28-26 lead before Great Bend missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw opportunity.
Forward Teghan Pencis of Dodge City was fouled with 1:20 remaining, but she missed both free throws. After the second miss, Pencis forced a jump ball, with the possession arrow pointed Dodge’s way at the 1:07 mark.
But Great Bend also forced a jump ball at the 1:01 mark, giving the ball back to the Lady Panthers.
Brack misfired on a 3-pointer with 44 seconds left, but DCHS wasn’t able to convert on the other end and Great Bend got the ball out of bounds at midcourt.
But DCHS batted the inbounds pass into the backcourt and the final seconds on the clock melted away. Brack’s desperation 3-pointer from midcourt bounded off the rim, although she didn’t get the shot off before the final buzzer sounded.
“We were just trying to get a pick the picker play on the sideline out-of-bounds play and for the most part it was OK,” Tatkenhorst said. “Dodge City, give it credit for getting out there and tipping the play.
“I’m still proud of our girls for their effort and togetherness. I thought we had a lot of people pulling for each other on the bench and everybody had their back.”
Dodge finished 9 for 44 from the floor (20.5 percent), 10 for 22 at the foul line (45.5 percent) and committed 13 turnovers.
Great Bend, meanwhile, was 10 for 41 from the field, including missing 12 of 13 3s (7.7 percent) and 10 of 15 free throws (33.3 percent).
The first half was an offensive struggle for both teams as Dodge lugged a 12-10 lead into halftime after Buckner scored five of the Lady Demons’ final six points of the second quarter.
It was a scoreless stalemate until midway through the opening quarter. Great Bend’s Jennifer Allende hit a shot from the left wing at the 4:21 mark and then sank the second of two free throws at the 3:52 mark for a 3-0 lead.
Kutina’s basket with 3:32 left in the first quarter made it 5-0, before DCHS finally broke its drought, getting a Thompson putback at the 2:28 mark. Pencis’ bucket closed the margin to 5-4 at the end of the period.
The second quarter was no different as both teams canceled each other out. Kalie LeShore pulled up in front of the free-throw line and hit a basket at the 6:25 mark for the first points in the second quarter.
After DCHS made 1 of 2 foul shots on two occasions to close to 7-6, Kaitlee Spray’s rebound basket near the two-minute mark before halftime gave GBHS a 9-6.
But Buckner led the Lady Demons on their half-ending 6-0 run, scoring five points during the final 1:22 period to give Dodge its 12-10 lead at the break.
During the opening 16 minutes, neither team could throw it in the ocean if they were standing on beachfront property. DCHS was 4 for 24 in the first half (16.7 percent), and GBHS was 4 for 21 (19.0 percent). The two teams combined for 17 turnovers by intermission, along with going 0-for-9 on 3s.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Western Athletic Conference
At Panther Fieldhouse
Dodge City 28, Great Bend 26
DODGE CITY (12-5, 4-1)
Ashley Stephenson 0 2-4 2, Brenna Briggs 3 2-2 8, Alexis Sanchez 1 2-2 4, Kesha Buckner 2 2-9 6, A’zlynn Thompson 2 0-0 4, Teghan Pencis 1 0-1 2, Ciera Lampe 0 0-0 0, Katrina Roenfeldt 0 2-4 2. Totals 9 10-22 28.
GREAT BEND (6-11, 3-3)
Brandi Schneider 0 0-0 0, Alexis Brack 1 0-0 3, Kelsey Crosby 0 0-0 0, Olivia Basye 0 0-0 0, Liz Kutina 1 4-10 6, Kaitlee Spray 1 0-0 2, Jennifer Allende 1 1-3 3, Taycee Bunn 0 0-0 0, Cassidy Tutak 4 0-0 8, Kalie LeShore 1 0-2 2, Jordan Haney 1 0-0 2. Totals 10 5-15 26.
Dodge City 4 8 9 7 — 28
Great Bend 5 5 10 6 — 26
Three-point goals — Great Bend 1 (Brack); Dodge City (None).