EL DORADO — This one was so reminiscent of Great Bend High School's early-season struggles.
Not taking care of the basketball, not shooting well and hardly scoring any points in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers struggled nearly from start to finish on Thursday afternoon during a first-round 43-34 loss to Wichita Collegiate at the 45th annual Bluestem Classic.
"Mentally, I just didn't think we were completely in it," GBHS head coach Chris Battin said of his squad, which fell to 3-6 on the season. "Against a good team like Collegiate, where they're getting after you all over the place, when you make a mental mistake, they make it look like three times the mistake.
"Give credit to them. Their defense was all over us, they took us out of everything that we wanted to do and that was the big problem."
The ball-hawking Spartans held Great Bend scoreless in the fourth quarter from the 4:58 mark until only 24.3 seconds remained, thus salting away the win.
"We had the pace where we wanted it early on," Battin said. "When a few shots don't fall and you turn it over in a low-possession game, it's compounded.
"Teams that turn it over 20 times in a 100-possession game, you can't do that. It was part of our problem."
Collegiate, 7-2, playing without its top player, Markus Phox, who suffered a season-ending broken foot last week, induced several turnovers out of its full-court press. The Spartans advance to tonight's 6:30 semifinal against Wichita Kapaun Mt. Carmel.
Collegiate was led by Taj Holt, who had 12 points, including two of their three 3-pointers.
Great Bend, led by post player Ethan Henderson's game-high 14 points, had a modest two-game winning streak after beating Western Athletic Conference teams Hays and Dodge City in succession last week.
But the Panthers couldn't duplicate that effectiveness, efficiency nor energy at El Dorado, falling into the consolation round. It will play Circle (1-8) at 4:30 today.
Entering the fourth quarter trailing 27-25, Henderson scored in the lane to tie the score at the 7:30 mark.
Collegiate center Landon Root scored inside on the opposite end of the floor to regain the lead for the Spartans at 29-27.
But GBHS knotted the score at 29 on point guard Matt Marshall's layup with 5:55 remaining.
Camron Chugg answered by knocking down a 3-pointer from the left wing with 5½ minutes to play, giving the Spartans a 32-29 lead.
After Henderson sank a pair of free throws to trim the margin to 32-31 with 4:58 remaining, the Panthers went dormant offensively.
Collegiate's Riley Kimmer converted a three-point play for a 35-31 lead at the 4:36 mark, before Great Bend then proceeded to misfire on six straight possessions, the first a 3-point miss by Shade Wondra.
After a Spartans free throw made it 36-31, the Panthers' Bryce Beck missed an ill-advised shot on the baseline. On the next possession, Josh Lutz had his shot blocked. After that, Brock Ibarra clanked a 3. Thereafter, Gabe Joiner bricked a 3 from the right wing and then Ibarra missed another trey — all coming from the 3:46 mark until 24.3 seconds remained.
Chad Touslee also misfired several times from point-blank range earlier in the second half, a microcosm of the Panthers' shooting woes on the night.
45th Annual Bluestem Classic
At El Dorado
Wichita Collegiate 43, Great Bend 34
GREAT BEND (3-6)
Matt Marshall 4 0-0 8, Chad Touslee 0 0-3 0, Brock Ibarra 0 1-3 1, Bryce Beck 2 1-2 6, Gabe Joiner 2 0-0 5, Ethan Henderson 5 4-4 14, Shade Wondra 0 0-0 0, Josh Lutz 0 0-0 0, Nick Warren 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 6-12 34.
Kendall Reed 0 0-0 0, Vafa Behzadpour 3 3-3 9, Riley Kemmer 1 5-5 7, Camron Chugg 1 1-2 4, Cameron Christian 0 0-0 0, Elliott Mann 1 0-0 2, Sam Beren 0 0-0 0, Jack Copher 0 3-4 3, Landon Root 3 0-0 6, Taj Holt 3 4-5 12. Totals 12 16-19 43.
Great Bend 5 9 11 9 — 34
Collegiate 6 16 5 16 — 43
Three-point goals — Collegiate 3 (Holt 2, Chugg); Great Bend 2 (Beck, Joiner). Total fouls — Collegiate 18, Great Bend 17. Fouled out — None.