On Tuesday night, PHS girls beat Ulysses and and PHS boys beat Larned to advance to the sub-state semi-finals.
If their idea of fun is to drive three hours, get run-ruled and then turn around and drive home, the Ulysses girls’ basketball team enjoyed themselves immensely on Tuesday night.
In a sub-state first round game, the Pratt High School Lady Greenbacks sent the Tigers packing in a not unexpected 64-31 rout.
What might have been unexpected was how quickly PHS exploded off the starting line. Due to the weather, the Frogs were only able to squeeze in one practice and a shoot-around in the seven days since their final regular season game.
Showing no signs of rust however, Haylie Hook buried a 3-ball right off the bat, and the Greenbacks were off and running. It was a balanced attack, as seven different Frogs logged points in the opening stanza, and ten players scored in the game—with three in double figures.
While holding Ulysses scoreless in the first half of Q1, Breann Becker hit a floater, Amy Olson had a put-back and Jenson Maydew sank a pair of buckets. It was 11-0 Pratt before the Tigers were able to get on the scoreboard.
PHS then began to hit from long range as well, with Stonie Flemming, Martha Ramos and Payton Hoeme all knocking down treys over the closing minutes of the first quarter. 24-6 Pratt after one.
In the second quarter, Ulysses sent Pratt to the charity stripe 15 times, the Lady Frogs connecting on 10 of those attempts. Becker hit 3/4, Ramos 4/6, Flemming 2/2 and Hoeme converted an “and 1’ to account for most of the Greenback offense in the second quarter. 38-14 Pratt at the break.
“It was good that we had a lot of girls scoring,” PHS head coach Dean Rausch said of his squad’s offensive explosion. “We wanted to make sure we got good inside looks and good outside looks. We told the girls that everyone needs to take responsibility for the team’s offense.”
The second half began the same way as the first half did— with Haylie Hook draining one from behind the arc. The Tigers kept fighting, but Pratt had an answer for everything Ulysses tried. For example, Paige Bailey was able to attack the basket on the backside of the Greenback pressbreaker. Nothing is more discouraging to a pressing team than to have to turn around and watch their opponents putting in a lay-up, and that’s just what was happening to Ulysses.
A pair of Ramos free throws at the end of the third frame put Pratt up by 30, 56-26—switching on the running clock for the 4th quarter. Eight minutes later, Pratt had claimed a 64-32 victory.
Page 2 of 3 - “We gave up some drives on defense that I wish we wouldn’t have,” Coach Rausch said in analyzing the game, “but all in all it wasn’t a bad first round.” Pratt advances to meet 18-3 #1 seeded and #10 ranked Andale in the sub-state semi-finals on Friday night, 7:30 at PHS. Andale downed Nickerson in round one. Colby and Hugoton will meet in the early semi-final, having bested Larned and Goodland respectively.
Pratt 24 14 18 8 64
Ulysses 6 8 12 5 31
Bailey 2-0-0-4; Hook 0-2-0-6; Becker 1-0-3/4-5; Tilley 1-0-1/3-3; Flemming 0-3-2/2-5; Martha Ramos 1-1-6/8-11; Olson 1-0-0-2; Payton Hoeme 4-1-1/1-12; Potter-Smith 1-0-0-2; Jenson Maydew 6-0-2/3-14
It took two tie-breakers to determine which of the teams had the higher seed going into Tuesday’s first round sub-state game between Pratt and Larned. That would seem to suggest that a tight game was on tap, and that’s exactly what Greenback and Indian fans were treated to on Tuesday night at PHS.
It was a game where Pratt led most of the way, but they could never quite shake the Larneds and the contest ended in a 52-46 win for the Frogs— but no one in the gym could be certain of the outcome until the final buzzer.
Pratt was down 7-4 in the early going, but then Garret Smith canned a 3 and Skylar Dean and Christian Kurz hit buckets to give the Greenbacks the lead at 11-7. The first quarter would end after a Drew Dobbs free throw put Pratt up 12-10.
The Frogs appeared poised to seize control of the game at times in Q2. Skylar Dean had a pair of trifectas, Chase Hageman scored a couple of baskets and Christian Kurz had 4 points to pace PHS in the second frame. But Larned kept hanging around, and the score was just 26-22 Pratt at halftime after the Indians converted an ‘and 1’ at the buzzer.
“We kept getting up by 10,” Pratt head coach David Swank observed,” and then we’d find a way to not have a couple of good offensive possessions and Larned would get right back in the game.”
That pattern held true after the intermission as well. Garret Smith hit two more 3s, Skylar Dean had a trey and 2 FT, and Thomas Mayberry contributed a bucket in the third stanza, but Larned was still only down 39-33 heading into the deciding period.
Things looked good early on in Q4 for Pratt with Dean and Mayberry each scoring 3 points and Hageman sinking a put-back. But leading by 10 at the 4:40 mark, PHS then had a cold spell. Turnovers, charging calls and missed shots resulted in several consecutive scoreless possessions for PHS, and Greenback fans were squirming in their seats as Larned drew inexorably closer— getting a number of easy buckets against the Pratt defense.
Page 3 of 3 - “Give Larned credit for doing some good things against our zone,” Swank said. “They had several good 3-point shooters and then they would use a high-low post combination that was very effective. They have some good players and a good coach.”
With about 2 minutes on the clock and the score 47-44, Smith hit a long 3 to give Pratt the momentum back. Down by 6 with under two minutes to play, Larned was forced to go to Slappytown. Hageman and Smith hit free throws down the stretch to keep the Indians at bay, and Pratt escaped with the 52-46 triumph.
“I was proud of our kids,” Coach Swank said. “It felt like we might break it open but we never could. The kids hung tough, though. It was nice to win a close one at home.”
With the win, PHS advances to face 19-2 #1 seeded and #4 ranked Andale in the semi-finals on Thursday at 7:30. Andale defeated Hugoton to move into the semis. Colby (who defeated Goodland) will play the early semi-final game on Thursday against the winner of Ulysses-Nickerson, who face each other Wednesday night.
Pratt 12 14 13 13 52
Larned 10 12 11 13 46
Garret Smith 0-4-1/3-13; Skylar Dean 1-4-4/4-18; Kurz 2-0-2/3-6; Mayberry 3-0-1/2-7; Hageman 3-0-1/2-7