On a night when his starting point guard, his back-up point guard, and a key bench player were out sick—not to mention that some of those playing were not at 100%, Pratt High School girls head coach Dean Rausch had to have been wondering how his squad was even going to get through the game on the road against the 5A Hays Indians, let alone put forth any kind of competitive effort.
But not to worry. With key contributions from bench personnel and solid performances from what remained of the regulars, the Greenbacks didn’t merely survive, they prevailed—nearly doubling up their hosts 52-28.
“I’ve never been more proud of a group of girls in my 30 years of coaching,” Rausch said after the game. “I’ve never seen that much heart. Our seniors gave us great leadership in a tough situation and our young kids stepped up and just played great.”
Sophomore Haylie Hook got the starting nod at point guard, in the absence of Amy Olson and Breann Becker, the #1 and #2 players at that position. Hook had hardly seen any varsity playing time this season. Yet, she potted a pair of threes at the outset to stake the Frogs to an early lead. And senior Martha Ramos, normally a defensive specialist, put in 8 points in the opening quarter to help the Greenbacks race out to a 20-6 advantage after the first quarter.
“I told Martha before the game that I was really going to need her this week,” Rausch intimated. “And boy did she ever pay me back for all that candy I’ve given her in my office over the years.”
In the second quarter, freshman Kelsi Potter-Smith came in off the bench (taking the stricken Paige Bailey’s place in the rotation) and poured in a couple of threes and Stonie Flemming hit one as well. The score was 33-13 at halftime. At that juncture, an ashen-faced Whitney Tilley bowed out of the proceedings, leaving the Frogs with yet another player unavailable—but the senior had contributed 2 points and valuable leadership, not stepping aside until the game was well in hand.
In the 3rd quarter, Pratt began pounding the ball inside. Payton Hoeme and Jenson Maydew combined for 8 points to pace the Greenbacks in that frame. “Our bigs were stronger than theirs,” Rausch explained. The strategy allowed the Greenbacks to stretch their lead to 47-19 heading into the final frame.
The 4th quarter was simply a matter of playing out the string, and the Greenbacks emerged with a stirring 52-28 win.
Defense was again a huge factor in the Greenbacks success. Holding the Indians to single digits in every stanza, Pratt was able to once again visibly frustrate an opponent with their relentless pressure on the perimeter and their wingspan in the paint. In the first half, Pratt forced 3 turnovers for each one they had themselves. “We always expect good defense,” Rausch said. “Sometimes I wonder where the scoring is going to come from, but defense is a constant.”
Page 2 of 2 - Balanced offense, tenacious defense and kids stepping up when they are needed is a pretty good formula for winning—and that’s exactly what the Lady Greenbacks featured on Thursday night at Hays. At 3-3, they go into the welcome holiday break needing nothing so much as to get everyone healthy. They return to action January 4th against highly regarded Hillsboro.
Pratt 20 13 14 5 52
Hays 6 7 6 9 28
Haylie Hook 1-3-0-11; Tilley 1-0-0-2; Flemming 0-2-0-6; Ramos 3-0-2/2-8; Hoeme 4-0-0-8; Potter-Smith 0-3-0-9; Maydew 4-0-0-8
The Pratt High School boys team ran into a buzzsaw at Hays on Thursday night as the big, athletic and undefeated Indians romped to a 79-41 victory over the winless Greenbacks. “Hays is the best team we will see all year,” head coach David Swank opined.
In the first quarter, Pratt was scoring well—Chase Hageman had a couple of buckets, Liam Kahmeyer hit a pair of threes and Garrett Smith chimed in with a trifecta. But Pratt couldn’t stop Hays, who put up a massive 26 points in the first stanza to race to a 26-13 lead. Pratt played better defense the second period, but could only put up 5 points, the result was a 41-18 halftime lead for the hosts.
Pratt’s best stretch came in the opening moments of the 3rd quarter. The deficit held at 23 until the 4:00 mark. But then Hays went on a 17-6 run to go up 67-33 after three frames, and usher in the running clock
The final was 79-41 Hays.