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Teamwork keys Panthers' championship
gb boys1
The Great Bend Panthers are the 2023 Kingman Classic basketball champions.

Panthers capture Kingman Classic title


KINGMAN – The first time Great Bend’s boys basketball team built a 14-point lead, the night ended with heartbreaking loss to Junction City.

When Wichita Sunrise sliced a 14-point deficit to two points on a 16-4 run, the Panthers were determined to finish the Kingman Classic with championship hardware.

Great Bend (3-1) converted 10 free throws after Carter Coombs hit a clutch basket to hold off Wichita Sunrise 71-65 to capture the Kingman Classic championship.

Coombs’ jumper gave the Panthers a 61-57 lead. Parker Dicks knocked down four free throws and all-tournament Ian Premer, all-tournament Maddox Spray, Coombs and Jacob Hall contributed free throws down the stretch.

Premer hustled inside for 22 points and Dicks was on fire with a trio of 3-pointers, 17 points and superb passing. Coombs (10), Hall (9) and Spray (9) contributed key points.

“All the hard work the guys have invested is paying off,” said Great Bend coach Kyle Kriegh. “We’ll celebrate this for 48 hours.”

Dicks delivered the early fire with a 13-point first half that led to a 43-34 halftime lead.

“Parker gave us a spark and got us the lead, which was the difference in the game,” Kriegh said. “He played awesome tonight.”

The Panthers converted 18 of 28 field goals (64%), but the Buffaloes countered with 13 of 28 shooting to stay within range.

Premer and Hall were challenged defensively against muscular 6-9 Marko Pavlovic (18 points) and athletic 6-7 Ben Oyewole, who scored 10 first-half points. Pavlovic wore down and Oyewole fouled out and missed valuable minutes because of fouls. Cayden Linsted contributed 14 points and Taiton Schmidt added 11 points.

The athletic Premer delivered the game’s signature play when he soared to block Oyewole’s shot off the backboard.

“They were huge guys,” Premer said. “We wanted them to make tough shots. It’s good to see all the hard work pay off.”

Sunrise’s Taiton Schmidt drilled a pair of 3-pointers and Pavlovich scored twice to draw the Buffaloes within 59-57.

The Panthers converted 10 of 18 free throws in the fourth quarter.

A key sequence occurred when supersub Daxton Minton saved the possession twice with a rebound and a tie ball after Premer rebounded a free throw miss to hand the Panthers eight free throws in a 30-second span. Dicks knocked down two free throws for a 66-61 lead.

Great Bend plays Larned Tuesday and Emporia Friday.

Wichita Sunrise 24 10 12 19 – 65

Great Bend 24 19 14 14 – 71

SUNRISE—Pavlovic 6-10 6-7 18, Cayden Linstedt 4-10 2-4 14, Schmidt 3-7 2-2 11, Oyewole 5-7 0-0 10, Kobari 2-7 3-6 8, Graham 1-2 0-0 3, Lopex 0-1 1-2 1, Totals 24-41 14-21 65.

GREAT BEND (3-1)—Premer 8-12 6-13 22, Dicks 5-7 4-4 14, Coombs 4-7 1-2 10, Hall 4-9 1-3 9, Spray 4-7 1-2 9, Ohnmacht 2-3 0-1 4, Nicholson 0-3 0-0 0, Minton 0-0 0-0 0, Totals 27-48 13-26 71.

3-pointers—WS 9-19 (Linsted 4-7, Schmidt 3-6, Graham 1-2, Oyewole 0-1, Kobari 1-3), GB 4-12 (Dicks 3-3, Coombs 1-2, Premer 0-1, Nicholson 0-2, Hall 0-2, Spray 0-2).