The last few high school basketball campaigns, opponents had grown accustomed to seeing the Great Bend Lady Panthers on the outside looking in.
But that perception seems to be changing in a big way.
The No. 3-seeded Lady Panthers (6-3) take on host and No. 6-seeded Shawnee Heights (4-5) tonight at 7 in a first-round game of the T-Bird Classic at Tecumseh (near Topeka).
“We know for Shawnee Heights, it’s going be a game for them on their home floor and it’s going to be a battle,” Great Bend head coach Carrie Minton said.
This is a big change from yesteryear, where GBHS normally enters a midseason tournament as a low seed with a losing record.
The Lady Panthers enjoyed a mini-break after drubbing Larned 77-20 at Panther Fieldhouse on Jan. 15 in non-conference action.
No question, though, GBHS is ready to get back on the hardwood. Tonight’s game will be one of three classic games in three days.
“It was nice to have a little break and let the little bumps and bruises heal up,” Minton said.
Sophomore guard Regan Unruh, who has been out with a sprained ankle, is expected to work her way back into the rotation this weekend.
“She’s been doing some light workouts and rehab and stuff,” Minton said of Unruh. “Tarynn Stueder had a little problem with an ankle after suffering a concussion right before the (Christmas) holiday.”
The winner of tonight’s game plays either Wichita Heights or Junction City on Friday at 7 p.m. in the semifinals.
The losing teams of those two games also square off at 7 on Friday night.