HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Western Athletic Conference
At Panther Fieldhouse
Great Bend 41, Hays 38
HAYS (5-3, 1-1)
Seth Tophoj 3 0-0 7, Chris Schultz 1 0-0 2, Trey Herman 1 1-2 4, Adam Deterding 2 0-0 4, Charles Howell 1 0-0 2, Zach Gaughan 8 3-3 19. Totals 16 4-5 38.
GREAT BEND (5-3, 2-0)
Jace Bowman 3 0-0 7, Greg Hildebrand 3 7-9 14, Cameron Casey 1 0-0 2, Jeff Pike 0 0-0 0, Will Gray 2 4-5 8, Dakota Ellis 2 0-0 6, Roderick Frise 2 0-0 4, Wyatt Bayless 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 11-14 42
Hays 8 7 7 16 — 38
Great Bend 7 11 11 12 — 41
Three-point goals —Great Bend 4 (Ellis 2, Bowman, Hildebrand); Hays 2 (Herman, Tophoj). Fouled out — None.
The game clock was melting, and sole possession of the early lead in the Western Athletic Conference boys’ basketball standings was at stake.
Great Bend High School and Hays were going down to the wire in a 38-all ballgame Tuesday night at Panther Fieldhouse.
In its timeout, GBHS wanted to go inside with the final possession of regulation, but senior guard Will Gray spotted Greg Hildebrand open for a 3-pointer from the right wing and Hildebrand hit a tiebreaking buzzer-beater, catapulting the Panthers to a 41-38 victory.
“It was just by chance,” said Hildebrand, a senior swingman, who scored a season-high 14 points, including 5-of-6 free-throw shooting in the fourth quarter. “Nine out of 10 times, I don’t make that shot, but I just heard the shot clock going down, so I pulled up and shot it.
“All I knew coming out of the huddle (after the timeout that preceded Great Bend’s final possession), I knew we were going to win the game. I guess that might have transferred over to the shot.”
The victory gives the Panthers (5-3 overall, 2-0 WAC), a half-game lead over Dodge City (1-0) in the conference standings. The two teams meet Friday night in Dodge. The Red Demons were idle on Tuesday night.
“We were really looking to get the ball inside,” Great Bend head coach Chris Battin said of his team setting up a last-second shot during the timeout. But Will did a good job. Greg’s man was helping in the post and so we skipped it accross and Will did a good job of finding (Hildebrand).
“Greg stepped up and knocked it down.”
Free-throw shooting was big again for the Panthers, who converted 10 of 12 free throws in the second half to finish 11-for-14 for the game.
“We’re really proud of our free-throw shooting,” Battin said. “It’s a big difference. Greg did a good job down the stretch, this place got pretty loud and he stepped up and knocked them down.”
Gray, a senior point guard, finished with eight points and senior swingman Dakota Ellis had a pair of 3-pointers during an 11-7 third quarter for a 29-22 lead going into the final period.
Hays outscored the Panthers 16-12 in the final eitght minutes but came up short.
Zach Gaughan, a burly post player, met his season average with 19 points to lead the Indians (5-3, 1-1).