TOPEKA — Right out of the gate against Kapaun-Mt. Carmel High School’s girls’ basketball team at the Class 5A State Basketball third-place game, Great Bend found itself in a similar situation that it faced in the semifinal round.
The Lady Panthers didn’t apply the kind of defensive pressure that got them through the first round and found themselves in a hole early.
Great Bend couldn’t dig itself out, falling 58-49.
“They came out, and we played hard,” GBHS head coach Carrie Minton said. “They did exactly what we asked them to do from the tip. Unfortunately, we came out a little slow again. We had a couple of turnovers, and I think it was a little jitters knowing it’s the last game of the season. Last game of your high school career, for the seniors.
“Once we settled in, we competed, and we competed hard to the last second just like we had all year long. Can’t be more proud of the effor the girls put together, not just today but all season long.”
The Lady Panthers finished in fourth place at the 5A state tournament.
“That’s one of those things that is hard to understand in this moment just what they’ve accomplished,” Minton said. “A fourth-place finish at state in basketball is nothing to hang your head about.
“On the flipside, the girls had high expectations, but they gave it their all and they should be very proud of what they’ve accomplished.”
Great Bend couldn’t get the baskets to fall in the first half against Kapaun.
The Lady Panthers went 8-for-28 (28.6 percent) from the field in the opening half.
The Lady Crusaders rang up an early lead, going on a 13-2 run to open up the first quarter.
Tarynn Stueder got the lone bucket in the first four minutes for Great Bend.
The Lady Panthers trailed 21-9 after the first period.
Great Bend fared better in the second quarter, though it didn’t gain any ground.
The Lady Crusaders matched the Lady Panthers blow-for-blow to go into halftime ahead 35-23.
Great Bend lost ground in the third quarter, trailing 45-31 heading into the final eight minutes of the season.
Even though the Lady Panthers were down by 14, the Lady Crusaders left the door wide open.
Great Bend came out with a hard full-court pressure that caused some issues for Kapaun.
“We knew defensively, it was going to be a tough matchup because of the height,” Minton said. “But we thought we could push the tempo of the game, and we did push the tempo and we were able to run on them a little bit there. We just couldn’t get some buckets to fall for us.”
Stueder knocked down a 3-pointer to start Great Bend off in the fourth quarter.
Great Bend climbed to within seven points, 56-49 with 38.8 remaining in the game on a putback from Kaylie Doll.
Even though Kapaun went 4-for-10 from the free-throw line in the final two minutes, Great Bend just couldn’t overcome the hole dug in the first three quarters.
The Lady Panthers had three players finish with a team-leading nine points — Kylee Spray, Kaylie Doll and McKenna Mauler.
“It was a total team effort,” Minton said. “There at the end of the game, we were switching people in and out on the defensive and offensive side of things. Every girl did exactly what we asked them to do today.”
Morgan Harwood finished with nine rebounds.
Great Bend finished 15-for-59 (25.4 percent) from the field. The Lady Crusaders were 17-for-44 (38.6 percent).
The Lady Panthers struggled from behind the arc throughout the tournament, going 1-for-10, 3-for-15 and 4-for-19, respectively for a total of 8-for-44 (18.2 percent).
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Class 5A State Tournament
Kapaun-Mt.Carmel 58, Great Bend 49
Kacee Kasselman 0-0 0-0 0, Lauren Welsch 2-8 4-7 8, Hannah Hildenbrand 0-3 1-2 1, Kelsie Doll 1-6 0-0 2, Kylee Spray 2-6 3-4 9, Regan Unruh 0-4 0-0 0, Kaylie Doll 3-5 3-4 9, McKenna Mauler 3-12 2-2 9, Tarynn Stueder 2-5 0-0 5, Hannah Mauler 0-0 0-0 0, Morgan Harwood 2-10 2-2 6, Madison Unruh 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-59 15-21 49.
Michaela Dreiling 0-0 0-0 0, Lindsey Medina 1-5 6-8 9, Elizabeth Pringle 0-0 0-0 0, Georgia Schaefer 1-6 0-1 3, Grace Hagan 0-3 4-8 4, Anna Born 1-3 0-0 3, Holly Harpel 0-0 0-0 0, Sam Bachrodt 6-11 3-5 18, Janay Jacobs 1-3 1-2 4, Megan Lickteig 0-0 0-0 0, Courtney Boswell 0-1 1-2 1, Sydney Kuhn 7-12 2-3 16. Totals 58.
Great Bend 9 14 8 18 — 49
Kapaun 21 14 10 13 — 58
Three-point goals — Great Bend 4-19 (Spray 2-6, M. Mauler 1-6, Stueder 1-1, Harwood 0-1, Ka. Doll 0-1, Welsch 0-2); Kapaun 7-18 (Bachrot 3-5, Jacobs 1-2, Born 1-2, Schaefer 1-4, Medina 1-5).