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Wild, wild win in K.C. -10/1/2014, 10:23 AM

Jones didn't wait to impact Kansas State -10/1/2014, 10:23 AM

HHS soccer falls on road -10/1/2014, 10:23 AM

Tiger golfers finish 10th on home course -10/1/2014, 10:23 AM

After big win, Tigers back to work -10/1/2014, 3:09 PM

Chiefs' Smith in a groove -10/1/2014, 10:23 AM

Late surge pushes Dodge past TMP -10/1/2014, 10:22 AM

Monarch XC sweeps titles at Lyons -10/1/2014, 10:22 AM

Tigers' Cole earns MIAA soccer honor -9/30/2014, 3:10 PM

Royals' playoff appearance years in the making for some fans -9/30/2014, 10:34 AM

Chiefs offense gets rolling in rout -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

California has four teams in the playoffs for the first time -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

TMP golf finishes third at Hoisington meet -9/30/2014, 10:35 AM

Monarchs move to 14-10 -9/30/2014, 10:30 AM

Big 12 coaches react to firing -9/30/2014, 10:21 AM

HHS volleyball goes 2-3 in Newton -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

HHS tennis places third at Garden City Invitational -9/29/2014, 4:16 PM

Tiger tennis finishes fall season 5-2 -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

MNF for Chiefs -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

Royals' starters rest in win -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

KU shows Weis the door -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

Jayhawks take the conservative route in their loss to Texas -9/28/2014, 9:43 AM

FHSU soccer cruises past SW Baptist -9/28/2014, 7:03 PM

Victoria takes advantage for close win at Ness -9/28/2014, 1:14 AM

Plainville grabs first win, beats TMP -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Area prep football roundup: Otis-Bison, Kinsley set record -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Wildcats roll -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Delton, HHS run past Garden City -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's soccer picks up 1-0 win at Southern -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's XC wins at Emporia State -9/27/2014, 7:12 PM

Kansas City clinches first playoff berth since 1985 -9/27/2014, 7:02 PM

Tigers take down No. 8 Pitt State -9/27/2014, 6:53 PM

Kansas linebacker Jake Love lives on instincts -9/26/2014, 11:06 AM

Like old times, Kansas State takes pride in stuffing the run -9/26/2014, 10:57 AM

FHSU women fall 2-1 -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Big win for Tiger soccer -9/26/2014, 10:46 AM

Tough test for Tiger football -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Hays High, TMP move to 4A -9/26/2014, 10:24 AM

One more win and Royals are in -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS XC second at McPherson meet -9/26/2014, 10:25 AM

Indian soccer snaps skid -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS golf clinches share of WAC title -9/26/2014, 10:48 AM

Monarchs, Cardinals seek first win -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Royals drop game at Cleveland -9/25/2014, 10:26 AM

UTEP football coach Sean Kugler hopes to build a program that can emulate Kansas State -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Indians hit the road -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Giants, Redskins trying to avoid steeper climb in East -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Sports Scores

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Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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SPOTLIGHT
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Petz stepping up for Hays High

Published on -12/10/2012, 10:23 AM

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By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

Hays High School senior guard Nick Petz is a gunslinger.

After spending much of last year on the junior varsity squad, Petz immediately took advantage of his window of opportunity on varsity this season and has emerged as an offensive catalyst and turnover-creating machine.

Hays High coach Rick Keltner said he knows what he's getting out of Petz. He's a fearless shooter that can will his team back into games.

"When I put him in the game, he is going to take some crazy shots, but I know that when I put him in, you've got to take the good with the bad," Keltner said.

Along with senior forward Adam Deterding and freshman guard Isaiah Nunnery, Petz is one of several "newcomers" who have played a significant role in the boys' basketball team's turnaround this winter. They've helped transform last season's 6-15 squad into a team that is 4-0 in early December.

"Coach K said I'm a hired gun, so I just got to come out and shoot the ball like he wants me to," Petz said.  

Petz had his coming out party at the Hays City Shoot-Out, where he averaged 9.7 points per game and hit key shots to help send his team to overtime and an eventual win against Newton in the semifinals.

His play attracted people's attention, and he earned a spot on the all-tournament team despite coming off the bench in every game.

His selection was a surprise to some, but not Hays High senior guard Lane Clark.

"He performed well, so it didn't surprise me at all," Clark said.

Clark said he's seen massive improvement in Petz's game.

"Amazing improvement," Clark said. "He is shooting the ball so much better. He has improved defensively -- everything, he's improved in. It's great."

Then Thursday at Colby, Petz started varsity for the first time in his career in place of injured senior small forward Derek Bixenman (ankle), and Petz scored 11 points.

"He's unconscious," Keltner said. "He can make bombs."

Keltner said he's seen a dramatic improvement in not just Petz's play but also his attitude and work ethic.

Petz said he worked his "butt off" this summer, spending extra time in the weight room and working on his shot. He also trained for hour-long sessions with Fort Hays State University graduate assistant basketball coach Jerrod Stanford.  

Stanford worked with Petz on his ball handling, getting him to dribble lower.

"(Stanford) pushed me," Petz said. "I couldn't be here today if it wasn't for him. He pushed me so hard. I couldn't have done that by myself."

Keltner said Petz spent more time using the shooting machine than anyone else during the offseason, and it's showed this winter.  

Petz is shooting 42.9 percent from 3-point range and is second on the team in scoring with 40 points -- eight points behind 6-foot-6 sophomore center Brady Werth.

Heading into the season, Keltner wasn't sure if Petz would even make the varsity roster. After all, he was a below-average defender that lacked strength, so he wasn't a perfect match for Keltner's man defense.  

However, Petz worked on his strength this off-season, and Hays High transitioned to running an aggressive zone defense, which fit Petz's strengths well.

Petz's lanky 6-foot-3 frame made him an ideal fit as an aggressor at the front of Keltner's zone.

"He's got good hands and good reflexes," Keltner said. "He strips the ball all the time."

Instead of a liability on defense, Petz has become a solid defender, averaging 1.5 steals per game. His six steals are tied for the second best on the team.

In fact, Keltner said he recently spoke about Petz's improved defensive play to assistant coach Tim Nunnery, who actually is Petz's uncle through marriage.

"I said, 'Tim, I've gone from saying Nick couldn't play defense well enough to play here, to all of a sudden he could be defensive player of the year if he keeps stealing the ball up front.'"

Petz admitted transitioning from junior varsity to varsity has been different. He went from playing in front of a small crowd against lesser opponents to a gym packed with his screaming peers.

"I've just got to play harder and try not to screw up in front of the crowd," he said.

Keltner said Petz is a "hired gun" -- a role Petz has embraced.

"I've just got to come out and shoot the ball like he wants me to," Petz said. "That's all I can do until he tells me different. For now, it's just shoot the ball and work my butt off on D."

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