There wasn’t enough time for Tasiah Nunnery to do much except put the ball through the hoop.
So the Hays High School sophomore did just that.
Then with the game tied, Nunnery raced to the other end to force overtime with a game-saving block.
And in the extra period, the Hays High School girls’ basketball team took advantage of new life and pulled away for a 62-53 overtime victory over rival Great Bend on Tuesday night at the HHS gym.
“They just told me to set a screen,” said Nunnery, who finished with 10 points.
“That girl just kind of fell, and I took the shot.”
It didn’t appear that the Indians (7-1, 2-0) would need any late-game heroics early in the contest.
Hays High led 11-5 after the first quarter and 25-14 at halftime.
Then the lead ballooned to 18 midway through the third quarter, and Great Bend (2-5, 1-1) was on the ropes.
But the Panthers clawed their way back into it, using a 14-2 run to be within 36-30 entering the fourth quarter.
“Like I told the girls, two years ago, we don’t win that game. Last year, it’s a 50-50 deal,” said HHS coach Kirk Maska. “This year, I wasn’t nervous or upset going into overtime. I really felt we were going to step up and do what we needed to do. We finished with a tying, drawn-up play that we executed and scored on. I was just pleased with the effort. We played flat and not up to our best, but we still found a way to win.”
The margin grew back to 13 points with 6:26 remaining before Great Bend rallied again, knotting the score at 46 with 1:38 to play.
Then with Hays High trailing 49-47 with 10.8 seconds to play, Nunnery set a screen on an inbounds play under the HHS basket. She found herself wide open for the tying bucket.
Great Bend had a good look at the eventual winning score, but Nunnery came flying across the paint and blocked the shot, sending the ball off the Panther player and out of bounds. The Indians’ half-court heave was unsuccessful, forcing overtime.
“It was really big because we came back,” Nunnery said. “I was afraid they were going to call me for a foul.”
With the score tied at 51 in the extra period, Nunnery made one of two free throws to put Hays High ahead for good with 1:53 remaining.
The rest of the defensive work came in the form of junior Mattie Hutchison, who collected three straight steals and was part of a Hays High team that forced Great Bend into six early turnovers as the Indians distanced themselves.
“That was amazing. It was good to see her get those steals,” Nunnery said.
Junior Savannah Schneider scored five of her 19 points in a span of 15 seconds that saw the lead grow to 57-51 with 1:05 to play.
From there, Hays High put the game away at the free throw line while continuing to force turnovers to seal the win.
“I’m a guy that saves timeouts for the end of the game, and I’m glad I did today,” Maska said. “In overtime, I wish I would have had one more than just one. But it’s a great learning experience for them, and they fought through some adversity in the second half and found a way to get it into overtime. Then we relaxed and took care of business.”
Hutchison also added 11 points for the Indians.
Senior Carley Brack led Great Bend with 11 points.
Hays High will be on the road Friday for a WAC contest at Garden City.