Saturday’s non-conference game at Great Bend was a test of wills for the Scott Community High School boys.
Could the Panthers force their deliberate, slow-paced offense on SCHS, or could the Beavers take control of the game with their outstanding defense and fastbreak offense?
It was the latter . . . by a landslide.
Scott City’s performance was even more dominating than the 58-27 final score would indicate.
The game wasn’t even 10 minutes old when SCHS opened up an insurmountable 29-4 lead and was able to coast the final 22 minutes.
“Their crowd was giving our boys a hard time before the game. I don’t know that that’s a very smart thing to do against a good team,” noted head coach Glenn O’Neil. “It only motivates you.”
As if the Beavers (16-1) needed added motivation against the Class 5A Panthers.
Great Bend was successful in holding the Beavers to their lowest offensive output of the season, matching their score in a 58-45 win over Derby. However, that had more to do with Scott City putting the brakes on their offense in the third quarter than it did with Great Bend taking the Beavers out of their game.
Scott City took early control of the game with a good mix of their half-court offense along with their up-tempo style.
Senior forward Joey Meyer scored Scott City’s first three baskets on short jumpers. His six-footer from the right side gave the Beavers a 6-4 lead and was the start of an incredible 25-0 scoring blitz that was finished off by a pair of Drew Kite free throws which put SCHS on top, 29-4, with 6:18 left in the first half.
By then, the only thing in doubt was the final score.
“We were able to get out and run a little and get some transition points,” said O’Neil.
The Beavers mixed in just about every way imaginable to score with fastbreak execution and long-range accuracy. As a team, Scott City was 15-of-24 (63%) from two point range and added 6-of-12 from beyond the three-point line.
Kite, who was unstoppable in the paint, finished with a game high 18 points on 5-of-6 from the field and 8-of-9 at the line. Meyer, who was 4-of-5 from the field, added eight points.
During the 25-point scoring run, senior guard Brett O’Neil drilled a pair of treys while Trey O’Neil and Austin Habiger each added one.
In an example of the team’s fine execution, they played for the final shot of the first quarter with B. O’Neil driving to the basket and then passing the ball to Habiger who was alone in the corner. The three-point specialist’s shot completely circled the rim before dropping in at the buzzer.
The Beavers did a great job of taking care of the ball - committing just nine turnovers - while handing out 22 assists, including a team high nine by B. O’Neil who also chipped in eight points.
“The (Western Athletic Conference) is a league where teams don’t push the ball very much, with the exception of Liberal,” says O’Neil. “Dodge City didn’t push the ball very much. Maybe that gives us the ability to surprise those teams early when we push the ball the way we do and that’s not something they’re accustomed to seeing.
“By the time they do make the adjustment we’ve already built a lead and that forces them to play at a faster tempo than they would like.”
Even with the game well in hand, the Beavers added yet another 11-0 scoring run midway through the third period that saw them opening up a 38 point lead, 53-15, with 2:51 on the clock.
Kite opened the scoring stretch with five consecutive points while senior guards Anthony Wilson and Habiger followed with back-to-back treys.
With a running clock, the Beavers added just three more points in the final eight minutes.
While pleased with his team’s offensive execution, O’Neil was perhaps more satisfied with his team’s ability to adapt to the Great Bend’s physical play.
“Great Bend is a team that plays tough inside and really rough. You have to step up and make the adjustment,” he points out. “There were a lot of fouls in that game which weren’t called either way. They got away with some and we got away with some. But if you were soft you weren’t going to get any rebounds.”