BY MACK McCLURE
MANHATTAN — This one was a heartbreaker, although one can’t deny that the Class 5A Great Bend High School Lady Panthers played one of their best games of the season.
That included a 20-point scoring explosion in the first quarter.
Yet Manhattan High came all the way back from a 17-point halftime deficit, sending the game into overtime tied at 48 and then outscoring the Lady Panthers 8-3 in the four-minute extra session for a 56-51 victory on Saturday night on the road.
Manhattan’s Mari Jo Massanet converted two free throws with 2.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter to push the game into overtime. Massanet then scored the Tribe’s first six points in overtime, sinking 6 of 8 foul shots to help turn back the Lady Panthers.
Great Bend’s Lexie Brack exploded for a career-high 23 points, including 18 in the first half, as she made big baskets throughout the game. She nailed four 3-pointers and all five of her free throws.
Brack knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:54 left in OT, giving the Lady Panthers a 51-50 edge. Massanet then converted two foul shots on the other end for a 52-51 lead.
But Great Bend’s Jennifer Allende was whistled for a double-dribble with 8.8 seconds left. With GBHS needing to foul, Allende fouled Onyeka Ehie at the 7.8 mark and she made two free throws to make it 54-51.
The Lady Panthers tried to get a game-tying 3-pointer, but Alix Miller of MHS stole the ball from Brack and drove in for a layup as the buzzer sounded.
Great Bend had its most productive four minutes of the season midway through the first quarter against the Tribe.
With the game tied at seven, LeShore scored at the 3:48 mark, the start of a mesmerizing 13-0 run, capped by Brack’s driving layup with 1:16 left in the half for a 20-7 lead. Brack had seven points during the run.
Brack, a senior sharpshooter, was practically unstoppable, scoring 18 first-half points. She hit a trio of 3-pointers, two field goals and all five of her free throws.
Manhattan post player Michelle Woods scored the final four points of the first quarter, making it 20-11.
The second quarter featured the Lady Panthers limiting Manhattan to only three points in the period while scoring 11 themselves — Allende’s basket from the left baseline, Taycee Bunn’s 3-pointer from the right wing, a Brack driving layup, a Brack 3 from the top of the key and a free throw by LeShore for its 31-14 halftime lead.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Manhattan High 56,
Great Bend 51, OT
Lexie Brack 7 5-5 23, Crosby 0 2-2 2, Liz Kutina 1 0-0 2, Kaitlee Spray 0 0-0 0, Jennifer Allende 1 0-0 2, Taycee Bunn 2 0-0 5, Cassidy Tutak 3 3-6 9, Kalie LeShore 2 3-5 7, Jordan Haney 0 1-2 1. Totals 16 14-18 51.
Elayna Spilker 1 0-0 2, Jenna Cruisinberry 1 0-0 3, Oneyka Ehie 5 4-4 17, Emilie Liebe 0 0-0 0, Alix Miller 2 0-0 4, Kristen Thompson 2 0-0 4, Mari Jo Massanet 3 8-12 14, Michelle Woods 2 4-4 8, Veronica Pitchford 1 0-0 2, Darby Price 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 16-22 56.
Great Bend 20 11 7 10 3 — 51
Manhattan 11 3 14 20 8 — 56
Three-point goals — Manhattan 4 (Ehie 3, Cruisinberry); Great Bend 5 (Brack 4, Bunn).