BY JIM MISUNAS
MAIZE – For the second year in a row, the underdog Great Bend boys basketball team played a near perfect first quarter to start 5A postseason play.
The Panthers surprised No. 3 state-ranked Maize by leading 21-20 at the start of the second period.
Just as quickly, the outcome was essentially decided. Maize dominated with a 19-2 scoring run and outscored the Panthers 58-19 after trailing for a shocking 78-40 substate basketball victory.
Maize (17-4) buried the Panthers with 67 percent shooting (31 of 46) by converting 22 Great Bend turnovers into a layup drill. The Eagles led 42-23 at halftime. They ignited a 24-point third quarter with the first six points for a 48-23 margin. Maize controlled the boards 24-14.
“We gave up a run and it was pretty tough,” said Great Bend coach Tim Brooks. “We didn’t do a very good job protecting the ball. We dribbled the ball in front of them and all they had to do was stick their hands out and tip it away.”
Great Bend senior sparkplug Ty Esfeld hustled for 12 points and Peyton Duvall and Alex Schremmer each added eight points. The Panthers converted 13 of 37 field goals and 6 of 7 free throws.
“Ty has done a fabulous job of being a leader of young individuals,” Brooks said. “The guys looked for him to do a lot of things. He handled himself in such a great manner.”
Maize’s standout Caleb Grill scored 23 points and Cade McGaugh (15) and Tanner Ohnmeis (10) scored in double figures. The Eagles play in Friday’s substate championship game.
The Panthers (4-17) also played an exceptional first quarter in last year’s 5A substate game against No. 1 ranked Goddard Eisenhower.
“We played well that first quarter,” Brooks said. “We executed things and played good defense.”
Everyone except Ty Esfeld returns and Brooks is optimistic the Panthers will be vastly improved next season. Brooks believed the Panthers played with a strong defensive presence and tried to play the game the right way.
“The guys played hard all year and were fun to be around,” he said. “We’ve got to continue to get better in practice and they’ve got to continue to play their tails off in games.”
Great Bend 18 5 9 8 – 40
Maize High 20 22 24 12 – 78
GREAT BEND (4-17)—Ty Esfeld 12, Peyton Duvall 8, Alex Schremmer 8, Trent Stueder 6, Koy Brack 2, Blake Penka 2, Dalton Miller 2.
CLASS 5A BOYS PLAYOFFS
GODDARD—Goddard Eisenhower 52-47 Goddard; Andover 65-59 Wichita Kapaun-Mt. Carmel; THURSDAY--Eisenhower 18-2 vs. Andover 11-9
KANSAS CITY—KC Schlagle 72-41 Shawnee Heights; Olathe West 85-60 KC Turner; THURSDAY--KC Schlagle 16-5 vs. Olathe West 10-11
KANSAS CITY—KC Wyandotte 58-52 Lenexa St. James; Mill Valley 75-38 KC Washington; THURSDAY--KC Wyandotte 13-5 vs. Mill Valley 10-11
MAIZE—Maize 78-40 Great Bend; Salina Central 62-58 Newton; THURSDAY--Maize 18-3 vs. Salina Central 15-6
PITTSBURG—Pittburg 70-57 Lansing; St. Thomas Aquinas 71-59 Highland Park; THURSDAY--Pittsburg 18-3 vs. Aquinas 10-11
TOPEKA—Topeka Seaman 72-50 Blue Valley SW; DeSoto 40-26 Leavenworth; THURSDAY--Topeka Seaman 14-7 vs. DeSoto 13-8
WICHITA—Wichita Heights 64-23 Salina South; Emporia 63-53 Maize South; THURSDAY--Wichita Heights 18-3 vs. Emporia 13-7
WICHITA—Wichita Carroll 58-37 Valley Center; Topeka West 83-58 Liberal; THURSDAY--Wichita Carroll 16-5 vs. Topeka West 15-6