By KEVIN THOMPSON
CIMARRON — When South Gray and Meade get together, it's usually a battle.
But Saturday's title game matchup in the Cimarron Invitational played out more like the Globetrotters against the Generals than a clash of Titans.
Meade, the No. 2-ranked team in 2A, had an unexpectedly easy time as they handed the Rebels, the No. 9 team in 1A, a 63-40 loss to claim the Bluejay title.
The Buffaloes avenged a loss in the championship game to the Rebels last year.
Both teams entered the matchup undefeated, but it was the deeper bench and the more physical Buffaloes who came out blazing.
By the time the smoke had cleared from the first quarter, Meade already held a 22-6 lead.
Gunner Cordes scored 12 of his game-high 14 points in that period and 6-8 post Randy Friesen added eight points, blocked three shots and pulled down three boards.
Conversely, in 19 first-quarter possessions, the Rebels turned it over 11 times
To make matters worse, South Gray uncharacteristically hit only one shot the next quarter as Meade opened up a 39-11 halftime lead.
Meade's tight defense and quick hands forced the Rebels into 19 turnovers over the first two quarters, and the Buffaloes capitalized in a big way.
In that first half, the Buffaloes connected on 16-of-34 shots and grabbed 15 boards, while South Gray was 3-of-13 with just nine rebounds.
Things changed for South Gray to start the second half as they started looking more like their tradional powerhouse teams of recent years. For the second half, they crashed the boards, committed only four turnovers, and outscored the Buffaloes.
But Meade's depth and experience proved too much to overcome by then.
"This team's coming together well and we're playing hard," Meade coach Dale Deighton said. "The last couple of nights the ball's been going in."
On Friday, they scored 87 points against Cimarron, including a 38-14 first quarter.
Equally impressive was the defense in the title game, he said.
"The kids are playing really hard. They're playing with a lot of good heart," Deighton said.
Meade's pressure defense forced bad decision making on the part of the Rebels. With Friesen (eight points, six boards and four blocked shots) and 6-4 Morgan Davis (13 points, five boards) clogging up the inside, Deighton said his team can gamble a bit and go for more steals.
South Gray coach Mark Applegate could only look at the game as just an early bump on a long road. Two starters have yet to suit up this season — Storm Mosher (broken arm) and Wyatt Slaven (illness) — which means that the Rebels have to fill in with a number of young and untested players.
"It's a work in progress right now, and we'll get better," he said. "We played better the second half once we got used to their pressure."
Meade is a good team, Applegate acknowledged, and the Buffsaloes showed that on this night.
Cut the turnovers in half and take away a number of Meade's subsequent easy baskets, and Applegate believes the differential would be only 10 points or so.
For the game, Meade (3-0) shot 48 percent (26-of-54) with 28 rebounds. South Gray (3-1) shot just 25 percent, finishing with 26 boards and 23 turnovers.
Meade 22 17 11 13 -- 63
South Gray 6 5 12 17 -- 40
Meade (63) — Little 3 0-1 6, Hardaway 0 2-3 2, Cordes 6 0-2 14, Wiens 2 2-3 6, Finster 3 0-0 8, Davis 6 1-4 13, Friesen 3 2-2 8, Pfanenstiel 1 0-0 2, Reichmann 2 0-0 4. Totals 26 7-15 63.
South Gray (40) — Martens 5 3-3 13, Clancy 2 1-2 7, Watkins 0 0-3 0, Tyler 4 1-2 11, Skidmore 1 1-2 3, Holloway 1 4-10 6. Totals 13 10-22 40.
3-point goals--Meade 4-13 (Cordes 2, Finster 2), South Gray 4-15 (Clancy 2, Tyler 2). Fouls--Meade 21, South Gray 16. Fouled out--Meade (Friesen). Technical fouls--South Gray (Clancy). Rebounds--Meade 28 (Davis 6, Friesen 6), South Gray 26 (Martens 7). Turnovers--Meade 16, South Gray 23.
Sublette 66, Cimarron 63
In the third place game, Sublette held off host Cimarron, 66-63.
The Larks overcame a 12-point deficit to get the win.
Alex White scored 30 points to lead Sublette, including eight field goals from 3-point range. Taylor Williamson added 10.
Cimarron was led by Ted Boersma with 23 points, while Stewart Fairbank chipped in 16.
Healy 57, Satanta 31
The Healy Eagles won the fifth place game, 57-31, over Satanta.
Darrick York led Healy with 13 points, and Omar Hernandez added 11.
Healy connected for eight 3-pointers, three of those from Hernandez.
Alan Caro led the Indians with eight points, while Zach Freeman and Eli Stalker added five each.
Bucklin 66, Deerfield 52
Bucklin defeated Deerfield for seventh place, 66-52.
The Aces were led in scoring by Anthony Ledesma with 26 points, and Isaac Vasquez added 16.
Alex Mata led Deerfield with 15 points and Rene Rubio added 11.
Bucklin was 13-of-23 from the free throw line, while Deerfield was just 6-of-17.
See Boxscores in Scoreboard, Page B2.