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WAC leader Hays closes out Panthers
Premer’s brilliance not enough
Ian Premer
Great Bend Panther Ian Premer (14) scores one of his three slam dunks against Larned. - photo by Janet Fleske Special to the Tribune


HAYS – Great Bend’s Ian Premer was a warrior against a wave of Hays High defenders with a career best 31-point effort. Jacob Hall chipped in 10 points.

But Western Athletic Conference leader Hays High showed the league race will run through Hays until proven otherwise with a strong finish in a 59-47 victory over the Panthers Friday.

Hays sprinted to a 38-19 lead with an amazing 23-4 scoring run after a 15-15 tie.

Premer scored 20 second-half points as a one-man wrecking crew to nearly rally the Panthers from a 19-point deficit before a packed Hays gym. The Panthers had to overcome a pair of technical fouls that handed the Indians four free throws and two extra offensive possessions.

The momentum swung the Panthers’ way when the Indians stopped attacking the basket in a botched effort to take time off the clock. The Panthers used an effective trapping defense to force several Indian fourth-quarter turnovers.

Premer scored 11 consecutive Panthers points and Cooper Ohnmacht earned a takeaway that led to a Premer slam dunk. When a hustling Ben Nicholson scored off a rebound, the Panthers had sliced a 19-point deficit to 50-45.

But Hays sparkplug Jack Weimer saved the day with a perfect assist to Dawson Ruder for a layup and a 52-45 lead. Hays converted 10 free throws in the fourth quarter, thanks to the Panthers’ second technical foul.

The perfectly balanced Indians featured Trey Oakley (15), Kaiser Fox (12), Weimer (12) and Ruder (10) in double figures off brilliant 20 of 35 shooting (57%). The Indians attacked the basket to convert 19 of 27 free throws.

“Hays is a good basketball team, and this is a tough environment,” said Panther coach Kyle Kriegh. “We need to bounce back next week.”

Kriegh saw a glimmer of hope until the Indians’ closing 7-2 scoring run over the final minute.

“Our guys fought like crazy,” he said. “We need that type of fight from the start. We also need guys to contribute from the perimeter.”

Great Bend (9-5, 0-2 WAC) must sweep its final six WAC games to have any chance of catching the Indians.

The Panthers did tie one statistic. Great Bend missed seven 3-pointers and Hays missed five 3-pointers.

Great Bend 8 9 14 16 -- 47

Hays High 13 15 14 17 – 59

GREAT BEND (9-5, 0-2)—Ian Premer 14-23 3-5 31, Hall 5-11 0-0 10, Nicholson 2-2 0-0 4, Minton 1-1 0-0 2, Spray 0-3 0-0 0, Dicks 0-2 0-0 0, Coombs 0-4 0-0 0, Totals 22-46 3-5 47.

HAYS HIGH (7-5, 3-0)—Oakley 6-10 3-4 15, Weimer 2-7 8-10 12, Kaiser Fox 4-4 4-5 12, Ruder 4-6 2-4 10, Izaac Fox 3-3 1-2 7, Lindenmeyer 1-1 0-0 2, Cano 0-4 1-2 1, Totals 20-35 19-27 59.

3-pointers—GB 0-7 (Premer 0-1, Spray 0-1, Dicks 0-2, Coombs 0-3), Coombs); H 0-5 (I. Fox 0-1, Weimer 0-2, Cano 0-2).