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GBHS snaps losing skid, beats Hays
Western Athletic Conference
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Great Bend High Schools Jace Bowman elevates for a jump shot from the left elbow during the Panthers 42-39 win over arch-rival and Western Athletic Conference foe Hays on Tuesday night in Hays. - photo by Mack McClure Great Bend Tribune

HAYS — After six straight demoralizing losses, the Great Bend High School Panthers finally broke their skid on Tuesday night.
Against arch rival Hays, mind you.
Jace Bowman nailed a critical 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter, Ethan Henderson hit a driving layup with 53 seconds left and then Bowman sank two free throws with 11 ticks remaining on the game clock.
Those three big plays helped the Panthers stave off Hays for a 42-39 victory, a win that improves Great Bend’s record to 2-6 overall and 1-1 in the Western Athletic Conference basketball race. Hays drops to 4-4, 1-1.
Hays’ Derek Bixenman, who led all scorers with 21 points, including four of its eight 3s, scored 13 in the first half, where the game was deadlocked at 21 at halftime.
“It’s kind of one of those deals where you get into this gym and they hit some 3s and get on a run,” GBHS head coach Chris Battin said, “and you’ve just got to weather them and understand that those things are going to happen.
“But you have to respond.”
The Panthers were able to answer Hays throughout the second half.
Senior guard Connor Sell, who finished with a season-high eight points, hit a 3-pointer at the 6:06 mark in the third quarter, the start of a 9-7 surge by GBHS. Sell also scored from underneath and then Bryce Beck hit a pull-up jumper near the lane to give the Panthers a 28-25 lead with 1:34 in the period.
After Bixenman knocked down a game-tying 3, knotting the score at 28, the Panthers’ Mauricio Uribe answered with a basket from the left wing for a 30-28 lead with 39.9 seconds left in the quarter.
But Bixenman drained his third trey of the game at the buzzer, giving the Indians a 31-30 lead entering the final eight minutes.
After the teams traded baskets early in the fourth quarter, Bowman answered Bixenman’s 3 with one of his own for a 38-37 lead with 3:53 to go.
That lead stood until the Panthers’ Chad Touslee stole the ball from Bixenman in the lane and Henderson finished on the other end with a layup for a 40-37 edge.
Bixenman then scored at the 35.1 mark, but missed the free throw on the three-point play opportunity as GBHS had a 40-39 lead.
At that juncture, it also helped the Panthers that Hays hadn’t been whistled for a foul in the second half until just 22.1 seconds remaining. So when the Indians committed seven straight fouls, coupled with knocking the ball out of bounds on an inbounds play, during the next 11.1 seconds, the Panthers finally shot a free throw.
Bowman then calmly swished both foul shots at the 11-second mark before Hays advanced the ball to midcourt and called a timeout.
After GBHS called another timeout, the Panthers defended the perimeter before Nick Petz’s 3-pointer was off-line as the buzzer sounded.
“Overall, I felt our effort was much better tonight,” Battin said. “We were battling on the glass and battling for loose ball.
“We kind of challenged our kids in practice, and they responded very well. I thought they played really hard, I thought they played within themselves and I thought they took care of the basketball.”

Western Athletic Conference
At Hays
Hays High School



Great Bend 42, Hays 39
GREAT BEND (2-6, 1-1)

     Connor Sell 3 0-0 8, Mauricio Uribe 1 0-0 2, Matt Marshall 1 0-0 2, Chad Touslee 0 0-0 0, Brock Ibarra 0 0-0 0, Bryce Beck 2 0-0 4, Gabe Joiner 0 0-0 0, Jace Bowman 4 2-2 12, Ethan Henderson 6 0-0 12, Blaise Cain 0 0-0 0, Wyatt Bayless 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 2-2 42.
HAYS (4-4, 1-1)

     Jordan Windholz 4 0-0 11, Lane Clark 0 1-2 1, Layne Downing 1 0-0 3, Kade Parker 0 0-0 0, Derek Bixenman 8 1-4 21, Hunter Gonzales 0 0-0 0, Brady Werth 1 1-2 3, Kyler Niernberger 0 0-0 0, Nick Petz 0 0-0 0, Chase Lund 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 3-8 39.
Great Bend           6   15   9   12 —  42
Hays                     14   7   10   8  —  39

    Three-point goals — Hays 8 (Bixenman 4, Windholz 3, Downing); Great Bend 4 (Bowman 2, Sell 2).