By BRETT MARSHALL
HAYS — Both South Gray senior guard Chase Clancy and head boys basketball coach Mark Applegate had a good take on the Class 1A state championship game.
Hanover would be physical on the boards, athletic, hit the outside shots and go inside with a power game.
That, in essence, is what transpired Friday night at Gross Memorial Coliseum, when the defending state champion Wildcats accomplished what South Gray had done in 2007-2008 — take home consecutive state titles.
Final score: Hanover 58, South Gray 49.
"They're very athletic, they beat us on the boards in the first half, and we just dug too deep a hole and couldn't get out," said Applegate. "We battled and we wanted to keep trying to chip away but we just couldn't get it done. Hanover is very deserving of what they got."
The Wildcats came out firing on all cylinders in what would set the tone of this championship match-up.
It was a 6-5 Hanover lead three minutes into the game when the Wildcats went on a 15-2 run to finish off the first eight minutes with a 21-7 advantage.
The deficit for South Gray would grow to 32-13 by halftime, as they couldn't get any shots to fall and Hanover continued to dominate in almost every phase of the game. Despite shooting only 34 percent in the first half, the Wildcats dominated the boards 27-14 while the Rebels were cold, cold, cold from the field, hitting just 5-of-24 shots for 20.8 percent.
"You can't have that type of night and expect to win in a championship game against a very good team," Applegate said.
With Clancy struggling from the outside (0-for-10 from 3-point range), the Rebels were forced to try and get their scoring from outside. In one stretch of three and a half minutes midway through the third period, the Rebels sliced the Hanover advantage to nine, 35-26.
The quarter would end with the Wildcats on top 40-28. The fourth quarter was one in which Applegate hoped to stretch out the game and it almost worked.
Down by 46-28, with 5:18 to go, the Rebels began fouling and the Wildcats could manage only 10-of-19 at the charity stripe, but it was enough to hold off any Rebel chances. The final nine-point deficit was the closest that the Rebels could get.
In his final game in a Rebels' uniform, Clancy finished with 28 points, most of which came on driving, winding, layups and 6-of-7 free throws. It wasn't the way he wanted to see his career finish, but he was reflective afterward.
"Hanover's got the whole package," Clancy said of the Wildcats. "They've got great players, a great coach, they play well together, and are very athletic. They just keep coming at you."
Clancy said that every time the Rebels would make a run at them, Hanover had an answer.
"Our shots weren't falling and we just couldn't stop them," Clancy said. "They jump high and crash the boards. We didn't block out as well as we normally do but I think they had a lot to do with it."
"For everything we weren't able to do that we normally do, give Hanover credit," said Applegate, who himself has three state titles to his credit (1997, 2007-2008).
"But I'm proud of what these kids accomplished. It's always special to be here at the state and to play for a state championship. You want to win these, but not everyone can."
No other Rebel scored more than five points while Hanover had four players in double figures — Connor Hynek with 15, Taylor Nicholson with 14, and Trevor Jueneman and Charles Alexander with 10 apiece.
Neither team finished the night shooting well — Hanover at 33.3 percent (17-of-51) and South Gray at 32.2 percent (19-of-52). The Rebels finished the season with a 26-2 mark with its lone loss in Class 1A coming in the title game.
Hanover 58, South Gray 49
HANOVER (27-1) — Jueneman 2-7 4-6 10, Diederich 0-9 6-8 6, Hynek 5-7 5-10 15, Alexander 4-7 2-5 10, Nicholson 5-9 3-4 14, Steinfort 0-6 1-2 1, Gerard 0-0 0-0 0, Bre. Bruna 0-0 0-2 0, Bra. Bruna 1-6 0-0 2. Totals 17-51 21-37 58.
SOUTH GRAY (26-2) — Clancy 11-28 6-7 28, Love 2-8 0-2 5, Hendricks 1-4 0-0 2, Schulte 1-4 0-0 2, Friesen 1-6 2-2 5, Martens 1-3 0-0 2, Mosher 0-2 0-0 0, Kisner 0-0 0-0 0, Peters 1-3 0-0 2, Hedlund 0-0 1-2 1, Holloway 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 19-59 9-13 49.
Hanover 21 11 8 18 -- 58
South Gray 7 6 15 21 -- 49
3-point goals — Hanover 3-13 (Jueneman 2-5, Diederich 0-1, Nicholson 1-3, Steinfort 0-2, Bra. Bruna 0-2), So. Gray 2-21 (Clancy 0-10, Love 1-4, Friesen 1-5, Mosher 0-1, Peters 0-1). Rebounds — Hanover 41 (Diederich 10), So. Gray 44 (Love 9). Turnovers — Hanover 12, So. Gray 15. Assists — Hanover 11 (Diederich 5), So. Gray 2 (Clancy 1, Hendricks 1). Blocked shots — Hanover 2 (Diederich 1, Alexander 1), So. Gray 6 (Schulte 4). Steals — Hanover 7 (Diederich 3), So. Gray 8 (Clancy 5). Fouls — Hanover 16, So. Gray 30. Fouled out — So. Gray (Love, Schulte, Friesen).