It’s all come down to one pressure-packed game.
The Great Bend High School Lady Panthers clash with the Salina South Lady Cougars tonight at 7 in Salina in a Class 5A sub-state championship game. The winner advances to next week’s state tournament at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka.
This group of third-seeded Lady Panthers (14-6) haven’t played in a game of this magnitude.
“Our girls haven’t been in this situation,” Great Bend first-year head coach Carrie Minton said. “I think that our girls are focused on doing the things that we do well and you can only control so much.
“We just need to be confident in our shooting and try to get up and down the floor and make some things happen.”
South (15-5) is the No. 2 seed. The Lady Cougars, who lost three of four games midway through the season, beat Hays 42-31 on Wednesday night in first-round sub-state play.
Great Bend shrugged off some early sluggish play to beat Maize South 48-40 on Wednesday night at Panther Fieldhouse.
“Of course, we like to play the way we play and force the pace,” Minton said. “I don’t know that (South) is real deep, but they are obviously a great-shooting team and they’re ranked eighth in 5A (in the final Kansas Basketball Coaches Association poll).
“Obviously, they’re doing a lot of things really well right now, playing six or seven kids and having such a great record playing in a tough league.”
Encountering 6A opponents like defending champion Wichita Heights and Topeka High at the Shawnee Heights midseason tournament, along with Garden City and Manhattan during the regular season, has acclimated the Lady Panthers.
“Playing in those games will be very beneficial for us going into the game,” Minton said.