As the seedings for the Class 5A sub-state basketball tournament were paired last Saturday, No. 7 seed Great Bend wound up drawing second-seeded Hays.
These longtime rivals were supposed to square off in a Western Athletic Conference finale in mid-February, but that game was canceled.
Rewind to Jan. 8. Hays came into Panther Fieldhouse unbeaten in seven games, but Great Bend did all the right things in registering a 48-40 victory.
Here we go again — but this time it’s first-round postseason action, with a large measure of desperation coming into play. Tonight’s game tips at 7 in Hays.
“We know that it’s going to be an uphill battle and they have a very good team,” Great Bend head coach Chris Battin said of the Indians (12-7). “We’re going to have to have an effort that is not like any other.
“We’re going to have to put four quarters together with great intensity.”
Those two areas — putting together four full quarters with great intensity — have been nonexistent for the Panthers (5-14) as of late. They have lost seven straight, still searching to find some cohesiveness.
“We’ve definitely had our ups and downs this year,” Battin said. “We have struggled at times, but we’re in the portion of the season where we’re looking to win and advance.
“That’s what the name of the game is now.”
Battin said his team didn’t watch the film of the win over Hays again.
“It’s going to be a completely different game,” he said. “We’re playing them at their place, and they always shoot the ball well there.
“There’s going to be a big crowd and a big-time atmosphere.”