A hard-fought Western Athletic Conference game between Great Bend High School’s girls’ basketball team and Liberal came down the wire.
Free throws from Morgan Harwood in the final minute kept the Lady Redskins at bay as the Lady Panthers remained undefeated in the WAC with a 46-42 victory.
“Our offense was just not clicking,” GBHS head coach Carrie Minton said. “We didn’t take any bad shots. We just couldn’t get any shots to fall. It’s unfortunate, but we continued to work hard. The girls continued to work the ball around. We finally got a few shots to fall in the outside in the second half.
“It makes for a frustrating night when you can’t get the ball in.”
With a narrow lead heading into the third quarter, 20-19, Great Bend couldn’t quite match the Liberal attack.
The Lady Redskins made shots on their end, as well as a number of free throws. The Lady Panthers could not.
Still, heading into the final quarter, neither team was out of it as Liberal led 29-27 heading into the final eight minutes.
The Lady Panthers took a 30-29 lead with a 3-pointer from McKenna Mauler.
After Jai Chapman hit the front end of a one-and-one, Harwood sank a pair of free throws to make it 32-30.
Maddie Unruh put in a layup in the paint, making it 34-30, followed by Reagan Unruh made 1 of 2 free throws.
Liberal’s Kambrie Long made 1 of 2 free throws on the other end, and Megan Besecker put in a 3-point bucket, closing the gap to 35-34 and silencing the Great Bend run.
Both teams traded points back-and-forth with Great Bend leading 40-37.
Harwood got an offensive rebound, and completed a three-point play to give Great Bend its biggest lead of the quarter with two minutes remaining.
After a Great Bend miss and a turnover, Liberal looked poised to tie the game, but Great Bend got a steal. Harwood missed both of her free throws, but Great Bend got possession of the ball on the rebound with 39.8 remaining.
Liberal forced a jump ball with 20.2 seconds left, and Chapman rimmed out a shot from the baseline and drew a foul. She made 1 of 2 free throws to make it 43-42 with 15.4 remaining.
Harwood was fouled on the inbound pass. She made both free throws to make it 45-42 with 12.9 remaining.
Harwood finished with a team-leading 15 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter.
“That was one of the things we knew with their post player (Jada) Mickens, that was going to be a difficult matchup,” Minton said. “Later in the fourth quarter, when Mickens fouled out, it was kind of an opportunity for Morgan to take advantage of her size inside. It eliminated somebody in there blocking shots.”
Chapman missed on the other end, and after a jump ball on the rebound, Harwood was again fouled. She missed her first, but sank the second to make it a two-possession game.
A half-court heave from Chapman missed its mark.
Defensively, Great Bend had a solid first half, holding Liberal to only 17 shots in the first half.
The Lady Panthers nearly doubled that with 36 shots, but only made 19 percent of them as they went into halftime ahead 20-19.
Lauren Welsch finished with 14 points for Great Bend.
Great Bend 59,
Dodge City 40
DODGE CITY — Great Bend remained undefeated in the WAC through Friday night with a rout of Dodge City.
Great Bend pulled away from the Lady Demons in the middle quarters, outscoring Dodge City 18-8 in the eight minutes before halftime, and 24-9 in the quarter following intermission.
Kelsie Doll scored a team-leading 12 points, including nine in the middle quarters.
Regan Unruh added 11 points for the Lady Panthers.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Western Athletic Conference
At Great Bend
Great Bend 46, Liberal 42
Carolina Limon 0 2-2 2, Jai Chapman 5 5-12 15, Jasmine Hernandez 1 1-2 3, Kelly Ramirez 1 3-4 5, Megan Besecker 4 0-0 9, Kambrie Long 2 1-3 5, Carley Shelton 0 0-2 0, Jada Mickens 1 1-2 3. Totals 14 13-27 42.
GREAT BEND (17-2, 7-0)
Lauren Welsch 4 4-6 14, Hannah Hildebrand 0 1-2 1, Kelsie Doll 1 0-0 2, Regan Unruh 0 1-2 1, Kaylie Doll 0 1-2 1, McKenna Mauler 3 1-2 10, Morgan Harwood 4 7-12 15. Totals 13 15-26 46.
Liberal 14 5 10 13 — 42
Great Bend 7 13 7 19 — 46
Three-point goals — Liberal 1 (Besecker); Great Bend 5 (Mauler 3, Welsch 2).