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WAC champions bury Panthers
spt deh gbhs bball v hays boys pic
Great Bends Koy Brack (22) dribbles around Hays Highs Tragdon McCrae (13) during Fridays home basketball game. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune


By the time the Great Bend Panthers ended Friday’s basketball game on a 9-0 scoring run, it was way too little and way too late.
But Western Athletic Conference champion Hays High dominated the Panthers 60-36 in Friday’s Hall of Fame game, made a little better by the Panthers’ closing 9-point burst. Panthers Brock Blessing, Alex Schremmer, Dalton Miller, Peyton Duvall and Ty Esfeld closed down the scoring.
Hays High dominated early and often, roaring ahead 20-3 with a shocking 17-0 burst after Alex Schremmer’s 3-pointer tied the game at 3-3. Tragdon McCrae hit a pair of 3-pointers and Cole Murphy and Dylan Ruder joined the fun with 3-pointers. When Kyler Koenke scored twice inside, the Indians had established their inside offense.
The Panthers (4-16, 2-6 WAC) officially hit rock bottom in a winless 0-7 home season, something that head coach Tim Brooks has never encountered.
“No, that’s the first time that’s happened,” Brooks said. “Winning home games is something we’ve got to change next season.”
It was a rare occasion where the Panthers were outplayed, outhustled and outfought in every category. Alex Schremmer led the way with 10 points and Peyton Duvall added eight points.
“It’s discouraging and disappointing that we did not play harder at the start,” Brooks said. “At least in the second half, we had guys coming off the court because they were exerting so much effort. That was good to see.”
Koenke led Hays High (14-6, 8-0 WAC) with 13 points and Murphy, Peyton Kieffer and McCrae each added nine points. The Indians converted nine 3-pointers. By halftime the lead was 38-13. The Panthers managed 3 of 20 first-half shooting, 15 percent. Great Bend converted 2 of 11 3-pointers and 1 of 9 2-pointers.
“We didn’t get off to a very good start and struggled offensively that first half,” Brooks said. “They made some shots early and got their offense going. They found their shooters in transition and made their 3-pointers.”
The Indians started the second half the same way on a huge scoring burst for a 56-24 lead after three quarters, which triggered an eight-minute running clock. The Panthers tested Hays High on the road in a 66-60 setback that saw Great Bend until the fourth quarter.
The Panthers will journey to Wichita Heights or Maize Feb. 27 for the Class 5A basketball playoffs.
HH 22 16 18 4 — 60
GB 6 7 11 12 — 36
HAYS (14-6)—Koenke 6-8 0-0 13, Murphy 3-10 0-0 9, Ethan Nunnery 4-7 0-0 8, Kieffer 4-8 1-2 9, McCrae 3-8 0-0 9, Fisher 1-1 0-0 3, Ruder 2-6 0-0 5, Meyers 0-5 0-0 0, Broue 0-1 0-0 0, T.J. Nunnery 1-5 0-0 2, Adams 1-3 0-0 2, Totals 26-62 1-2 60.
GREAT BEND (4-16)—Schremmer 4-9 0-0 10, Duvall 2-6 3-3 8, Wondra 0-1 0-0 0, Esfeld 1-7 1-2 4, Sam Ryan 0-7 0-2 0, Blessing 1-4 2-2 4, Miller 2-4 0-0 4, Stueder 2-2 0-0 4, Brack 0-2 0-0 0, Penka 1-2 0-0 2, Widiger 0-1 0-0 0, Totals 13-45 6-9 36.