Things were one-sided, as one-sided as one would expect when a No. 1 seed with two losses going against a No. 8 seed with a winless record.
That being said, you can never sleep on a conference opponent you see every year when the postseason is on the line.
Great Bend did nothing of the sort, rushing out to a massive lead in the first half to blow out Western Athletic Conference rival Hays 60-29 in the Class 5A sub-state tournament semifinal game.
“I thought we came out in the first quarter, which is when you have to kind of make your presence known,” GBHS head coach Carrie Minton said. “In that first quarter, we came out and turned up the defensive pressure, got some steals, which led to some quick, easy buckets.
“From there, it’s hard to keep up that type of momentum, that level of intensity for a full four quarters. It was nice to see we came out in the second half and we kind of picked up where we left off with another big quarter.”
Maize South beat Liberal 43-37, setting up a Saturday meeting between the Lady Mavericks and the Lady Panthers at 7 p.m. at the Panther Fieldhouse. The winner advances to the 5A state tournament.
“Maize South is going to be a tough opponent,” Minton said. “We really felt like it was anybody’s game down there with Liberal, so we didn’t quite know what to expect out of that one.
“We ran into them last year in the first round of the sub-state, so we have some things we can go off of, but we’re going to have to come out and be ready to go again.”
In one giant block of scoring, the Lady Panther utilized a bruising full-court press to rack up 23 points before the Lady Indians could get on the scoreboard.
Starting with a 3-pointer from Hannah Hildebrand, who had six points in the run, and ending on 1 of 2 free throws from Kaylie Doll, Great Bend had its run cut off by Hays’ Mattison Schlaefli, who made a pair of free throws to make it 23-2.
“Hannah came out of the gates, and she was on fire,” Minton said of her senior, who had six of Great Bend’s first nine points of the game. “It was great to see she stepped up and took that first big shot and knocked it down.
“We had anticipated the zone and we had worked on that a bit. It was nice to see we had some people ready to go.”
The first quarter ended with a 23-4 Lady Panthers advantage.
Things grew steadily worse for Hays, as Great Bend shifted to a less pressing half-court defense.
Still, Great Bend kept the Lady Indians from making a field goal.
Hays didn’t get its first field goal until 1:09 remaining in the first half, as Audra Schmeidler completed a three-point play.
Great Bend led 36-13 at intermission.
The Lady Panthers, who had 16 offensive rebounds in the game, continued to add to their lead in the second half, outscoring Hays 22-8 in the third quarter. Hays claimed the fourth quarter, going on an 8-2 run in the final eight minutes.
Morgan Harwood led Great Bend with 12 points.
Lauren Welsch added 10 points, and Hildebrand finished with eight points.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Class 5A sub-state tournament
At Great Bend
Great Bend 60, Hays 29
Mattie Schlaefli 1 5-6 8, Haley Wells 2 4-4 8, Talyn Kleweno 1 0-0 2, Nicole Dinkel 1 2-2 4, Summer Smith 1 0-1 2, Emily Peckham 0 1-2 1, Audra Schmeidler 1 2-5 4. Totals 7 14-20 29.
GREAT BEND (19-2)
Kacee Kasselman 0 0-0 0, Lauren Welsch 4 1-1 10, Hannah Hildebrand 3 1-2 8, Kelsie Doll 3 0-0 6, Kylee Spray 1 3-4 5, Reagan Unruh 0 1-4 1, Kaylie Doll 2 2-4 6, McKenna Mauler 2 0-0 5, Tarynn Stueder 1 0-2 2, Hannah Mauler 1 0-2 3, Morgan Harwood 5 1-3 12, Madison Unruh 0 2-3 2. Totals 22 11-25 60.
Hays 4 9 8 8 — 29
Great Bend 23 13 22 2 — 60
Three-point goals — Hays 1 (Schlaefli); Great Bend 5 (Harwood, H. Mauer, M. Mauler, Hildebrand, Welsch).