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Free throws push Hutch past GBHS
coach tim brooks
Great Bends Blake Penka shoots and scores in the lane on Friday night against Hutchinson. - photo by JIM MISUNAS Great Bend Tribune

GREAT BEND – The Great Bend boys basketball team featured a “winning mindset,” against 6A Hutchinson High.
The Panthers delivered effort and intensity that Panther coach Tim Brooks demands against a feisty Hutchinson team. However, the Salthawks walked away with a 54-48 non-league basketball victory, thanks to 20 of 27 free throws.
Brooks saw everything he wanted except a victory Friday for the Panthers (1-4). The Panthers held their own against a tall and physical Salthawk team.
“We kept a winning mindset tonight,” Brooks said. “Our effort and intensity was so much better tonight. We played better basketball and competed. Our guys scrapped and battled on the boards against a team that was bigger than us.”
Hutchinson’s Jacob Cole scored seven consecutive points for a 50-39 lead with 2:19 left in the ballgame. But the Panthers sliced the lead to 52-48 with 39 seconds left. Panther Ty Esfeld scored five points and Brock Blessing and Koy Brack scored.
Hutchinson’s Max Ontjes helped preserve the victory with two free throws after the Panthers cut an 11-point lead to 50-45. Ontjes punctuated the victory with a slam dunk to end the first half to highlight a 16-point game. Ontjes made nine of nine free throws.
“We sent Hutchinson to the free throw line and committed fouls 90 feet from the basket,” Brooks said. “We need to shore some things up.”
Esfeld paced the Panthers with 13 points and Trent Steuder scored a career high 12 points. Esfeld did a solid job defending Ontjes. Blessing added nine points. The Panthers converted 17 of 44 field goals, 12 of 21 free throws and 1 of 9 from 3-point range. The Salthawks converted four 3-pointers to outscore the Panthers 12-3 from long range.
“Had we made more free throws, it would’ve been interesting,” Brooks said.
Hutchinson (1-3) earned the first varsity victory for Hutchinson coach Ted Webster.
“It was gratifying to get that first victory,” Webster said. “Our effort tonight was excellent and it needed to be because Great Bend is a well-coached basketball team that played equally well.”

HH 7 17 16 14 — 54
GB 8 13 14 13 — 48
HUTCHINSON—Ontjes 3-6 9-9 16, Cole 3-6 2-2 10, Vigil 2-8 5-7 9, Jones 3-6 1-3 7, Henaha 1-1 2-4 5, Tate Webster 0-2 0-0 0, Turner 2-2 1-2 5, team basket 2, Totals14-32 20-27 54.
GREAT BEND—Esfeld 5-9 3-8 13, Steuder 5-7 2-2 12, Brack 2-11 2-2 7, Blessing 3-11 3-5 9, Miller 1-2 0-0 2, Penka 1-2 2-4 5, Korbin Widiger 0-1 0-0 0, Ryan 0-1 0-0 0, Totals 17-44 12-21 48.
3-point goals—HH 4-10 (Cole 2-4, Ontjes 1-4, Henaha 1-1), GB 2-13 (Penka 1-1, Brack 1-7, Esfeld 0-1, Miller 0-1, Widiger 0-1, Blessing 0-2). Technical—Vigil.