Let it begin.
The Class 5A State Basketball Tournament kicked off on Wednesday with the boys’ quarterfinal round.
Today, Great Bend High School’s girls’ basketball team gets to join the fray.
The Lady Panthers enter as the No. 3 seed at 20-2, and will look to overcome sixth-seeded Topeka Seaman, which is 19-3.
“We know they’ve played a tough schedule,” GBHS head coach Carrie Minton said of Seaman. “They play in that league with a bunch of teams from Topeka.
“We expect them to run a full-court zone press to a 2-3 zone.”
That press was something that Minton had her team working on this week in practice.
“I think we had a good week of practice,” Minton said. “We got to work on some things that we haven’t worked on in awhile, like working against the press. We haven’t had to prepare for a game against a press in awhile, so it was probably good for us to go back into that heading into the tournament.”
Another thing Great Bend has preparing to see from Lady Vikings is a pair of strong post players.
“They have a couple good post players that are very good,” Minton said. “One of them, I think, leads the Centennial League in scoring, so we just need to stay focused and play our defense.
“We’ve seen two post players some this season. Garden City and Liberal both run out two post players, so it’s something we played against before.”
Seaman’s two post players are juniors Tatyana Legette, who is 5-foot-10, and Rachel Heald, who is 6-0.
Legette averages a team-leading 14.0 points per game and 10.3 rebounds per game.
Heald averages 10.9 points per game.
Brooke McMillin also averages in double figures with 10.9 points per game.
Great Bend’s two losses this season came against state ranked opponents.
Riley County won 74-53 in the Lady Panthers’ third game of the season. Riley County is No. 2 in 3A on the season’s final Kansas Basketball Coaches Association poll.
Wichita South topped Great Bend 67-48 in the championship game of the Lady Scot Shootout. South is ranked No. 1 in 6A.
Great Bend is ranked fifth in 5A, but the tournament bracket is filled with ranked opponents. Seven out of the eight teams are ranked, including No. 1 Leavenworth, No. 2 Salina Central, No. 3 St. Thomas Aquinas, No. 4 Kapaun Mt. Carmel, No. 5 Great Bend, No. 6 Seaman and No. 8 St. James Academy.
Seaman’s three losses came against Olathe South (55-34), Maize (60-45) and Manhattan (47-38.
Seaman is on a two-game win streak, losing against Manhattan in the final game of the regular season.