HAYS — The Great Bend girls sliced a 12-point deficit in half with a minute left, but the heroics had just started in a 51-47 overtime basketball victory against Wichita Life Prep.
Panther Carley Brack ignited a game-tying 7-1 burst with two free throws and a crucial 3-pointer for a 45-43 score. Brack scored 23 points in Thursday’s Gerald Mitchell Hays City Shootout.
Shailey Clark converted a 15-foot jumper off a perfect assist by Canryn Dunekack for a 45-45 tie to send the game to overtime. The Panthers forced Life Prep turnovers on the final two Fire possessions. The Panthers outscored the Fire 19-6 in the fourth quarter.
“I wanted to make a score to help my team,” said Clark, who believed it was the biggest shot she’s ever made. “I just tried to take my time and try not to feel the pressure. I was pretty pleased. We needed to play as a team.”
In overtime, Dunekack converted the go-ahead score on an assist by Alyssa Herter for a 48-47 lead. Jenna Mauler’s assist led to another clutch Clark basket for a 50-47 lead.
The Panthers’ defense swarmed the Fire’s two stars Carla Bremaud and Rongomi Timson with constant double team pressure at the end of regulation and overtime. Mauler and Herter shut down Timson. Clark and Dunekack double teamed Bremaud. The Fire scored on one of seven tries in overtime.
Bremaud scored 22 points and Timson scored 18 points as they combined for 40 points and attempted 40 of the Fire’s 47 field goal attempts. Both players showed ability to handle the basketball in traffic and beat the defense.
Great Bend coach Carrie Minton said it required unconventional measures to finally pressure the Fire’s two stars.
The Panthers’ teamwork overcame the one-on-one play by the Fire. All of the Panthers’ offense was created by teammates moving the basketball.
‘’This was a very tough game to coach and play in,” Minton said. “They had two extremely talented players who took over the game. They shoot the ball and handle the ball extremely well. We stayed mentally focused on our task at hand. It required a lot of double teams and help that you don’t practice on. We sold it to them. It was a tremendous amount of teamwork. We finally got comfortable in our plan.”
Minton said her team has rarely focused that much pressure defense on two players. Three Fire players fouled out and three players attempted 46 of 37 field goals.
“I’m really proud of the way the girls battled because we adjusted on the fly,” Minton said. “We did a better job executing on offense the second half.”
Dunekack contributed 11 points and Clark added six points. The Panthers attacked the basket effectively, but converted 13 of 30 free throws. Brack converted four of 12 free throws in the final 12 minutes.
The Panthers (1-0) play rival Hays High (1-0) in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Hays High.
PANTHERS 51, LIFE PREP 47
LP 13 11 14 7 2 — 47
GB 7 6 13 19 6 — 51
LP—Bremaud 8-18 4-4 22; Timson 7-22 3-6 18, Borot 3-6 1-3 7, Fergu-son 0-1 0-0 0, Totals 18-47 8-13 47
GB— Brack 6-14 9-20 23, Dunekack 4-18 2-4 11, Clark 3-5 0-2 6, Herter 1-3 1-2 3, Mauler 1-6 1-2 3, Kaylee Unruh 1-2 0-0 3, Mills 1-3 0-0 2, To-tals 17-51 13-30 51
3-point goals—LP 3-10 (Bremaud 2-5, Timson 1-3), GB 4-17 (Brack 2-5, Kaylee Unruh 1-1, Dunekack 1-6)
HAYS CITY SHOOTOUT GIRLS
Great Bend 51, Wichita Life Prep 47 (OT)
Hays High 51,Olathe North 30
Manhattan 59, William Chrisman, Mo. 37
St. Thomas Aquinas 43, Hays-TMP 30
3 p.m.—William Chrisman vs. TMP
3 p.m.—Manhattan vs. Aquinas
6:30 p.m.—Great Bend vs. Hays High
6:30 p.m.—Life Prep vs. Olathe North