BY BRETT MARSHALL
During his high school basketball career, Alex Schremmer has seen the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly on the court.
If there’s a word for persistency then Schremmer might be the prime example of how much hard work and dedication can pay off.
Schremmer, a 5-11 point guard with deadly outside shooting skills and quickness to drive to the basket, was the sparkplug, the engine driver, the maestro of the Great Bend Panthers’ resurgent season in a 17-5 season and 7-1 WAC record that tied Hays High for the title.
Schremmer was voted as the WAC Boys Basketball Player of the Year for the 2019-20 season. Great Bend coach Tim Brooks was WAC Coach of the Year for his masterful defensive work.
It was Great Bend’s first title since the 2008-09 season. Schremmer’s Panthers were 11-30 after 9-13 and 3-17 seasons.
What was the springboard for the team’s success in Brooks’ fourth season heading the program?
“We had eight seniors and we had something to prove after not doing very well when we were sophomores and juniors,” Schremmer said. “We took our lumps our sophomore season. We had a lot of experience, but we hadn’t proved anything.”
What evolved was one of the best seasons in more than a decade for the Panther boys, co-sharing the league title with rival Hays and reaching the Class 5A sub-state championship game before losing to Hays for the second time in three tries this season to see a state tournament berth end.
“That was tough for sure, but we did so many good things,” Schremmer said. “Honestly, it was a great season for us. We brought a lot of fans back to watch us and that was fun.”
Schremmer averaged a career-high 18.7 points in 22 games. He averaged 2.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists while shooting 42.7 percent from the field, including 35.4 percent from 3-point range. He was a sparkling 83.2 percent free throw shooter.
“One of the reasons for our success was we finally figured out how to close out a game,” Schremmer said. “In the past, we’d let games slip away.”
Schremmer encontered an array of defensive schemes.
“They guarded me more closely so there was a lot more physicality,” Schremmer said. “I handled it better and was able to find my open teammates. We played more together than at any other time.”
The Panthers lost their first two games of the Hays Shootout before winning the seventh-place game. The next game against Junction City realized the potential.
“They had a good team and we got a big win,” Schremmer said. “That helped and put us in a good frame of mind.”
Schremmer said the team’s first WAC game of the season, at Garden City, where they came away with a hard-fought victory, was the next spark for the season.
“That had a big impact on us to get that WAC win on the road,” Schremmer said. “We would lose those games in previous seasons.”
In the January mid-season El Dorado Invitational, the Panthers rolled by Circle, Wichita-Kapaun Mt. Carmel and Wichita Collegiate to capture the first-place trophy.
“Those three wins really boosted us for the rest of the season,” Schremmer said. “It showed we could win big games.”
A loss at Hays in the first meeting of the double round-robin WAC schedule gave Schremmer and his teammates some motivation, losing 64-62.
The second time around, the Panthers won the rematch by a 60-56 count. Schremmer pumped in a career-high 38 points to spark the triumph.
“That was huge and and it was a pretty energetic atmosphere,” Schremmer said. “It’s never easy to play a team three times. We went cold shooting and their height was a big factor for them. They have a good team, but we would have liked to have gone to state for sure.”
Schremmer said hard work and teamwork can go a long way to having success.
“Ultimately, the season showed ourselves that hard work can turn out well,” Schremmer said. “It was a fun season and there was a lot of satisfaction in knowing that we brought Great Bend basketball to a level of success for our community.”
Schremmer was joined on the first team by Hays’ Dylan Ruder and Dalyn Schwartz, Garden City’s Azavieer Williams, and Dodge City’s John Johnson.
Great Bend’s second-team All-WAC Peyton Duvall (9 ppg, 4 rpg) shot 34% 3-pointers, 47% FG and 67% FT. Second-team All-WAC Alex Olivas averaged 7 ppg, 6 rpg on 40% 3-pointers, 41% FG and 79% FT.
DODGE CITY—John Johnson, 12
GREAT BEND—Alex Schremmer, 12
HAYS HIGH—Dylan Ruder, 12; Dalyn Schwartz, 11
GARDEN CITY—Azavier Williams, 12
PLAYER OF YEAR—Alex Schremmer, Great Bend
COACH OF YEAR— Tim Brooks, Great Bend
LIBERAL—Lee Hatcher, 12
GREAT BEND—Peyton Duvall, 12; Alex Olivas, 12
HAYS HIGH—T.J. Nunnery, 11
GARDEN CITY—Tae Rosales, 10