By RANDY GONZALES

Special to the Telegram

HAYS Greeley County's boys basketball team hoped to make use of its experience at state.

"It's something we talked about coming into this," Greeley County coach Jeff Starkey said. "We're the only team that was in Hays last year at this time. We wanted to use that as an advantage and play like a team that has been here before."

Class 1A has been divided into Division I and Division II this year. Of the eight boys' teams at state last year, seven are now Division I teams; which went to Emporia. Greeley County is the lone Division II school from last year's season finale.

Greeley County made short work of a youthful Bern squad in Thursday's first round of the 2011 Class 1A Division II state tournament, winning 58-40 in Gross Memorial Coliseum.

Bern had no seniors and two juniors on the team, with five freshmen and four sophomores. While most of the Bern players were slight of build, the Greeley County players were bigger and stronger.

The Jackrabbits muscled their way to the boards, outrebounding the Indians 30-13.

"They're a young team," Starkey said. "We felt we had enough athletes to take advantage of that early.

Greeley County (21-3), the No. 1 seed, will play Kiowa-South Barber (18-6) in tonight's 8:15 semifinals.

Jonathan Miller, a 6-foot-2 senior forward, scored 17 points with four assists for the Jackrabbits. Sophomore Anthony Wilson added 17 points and 11 rebounds, while senior Stephen Houston scored 13 points.

Greeley County took its time on offense, finding the seams in Bern's zone defense.

"I think we were patient," Starkey said. "We want to play inside-out.

"We'd wait for Miller to open up, and then let Miller dictate what type of shots we took."

Greeley County led 23-15 at halftime, then outscored Bern 16-9 in the third quarter to take a 39-24 lead.

Bern (9-15) got 19 points from sophomore Graham Droge.

Other scores from Hays: Hope snuck past Linn, 41-40 behind 12 points from Lucas Bird, 10 each from Todd Kickhaefer and Tyler Mudd.

Fowler dropped a close one to Otis-Bison, 53-50.

Otis-Bison got 19 from Brandon Pechanec, and 17 from Dylan Wissman, which proved to be the difference maker.

And in the final game, Kiowa-South Barber won 72-52 over Rexford-Golden Plains.

Kiowa-Golden Plains' Luke Yearout and Dylon Molz scored 18 each in the 20-point victory.

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Bern 6 9 9 16 -- 40

Greeley Co. 14 9 16 19 -- 58

Bern--Droge 5-15 6-6 19, Haverkamp 5-12 3-5 13, Platt 2-6 2-4 6, Baumgartner 1-2 0-0 2, Meyer 0-1 0-0 0, Total 13-36 11-15 40.

Greeley Co.--Miller 8-10 1-2 17, Wilson 7-12 3-4 17, Houston 6-14 1-1 13, Robertson 2-4 0-0 6, Schneider 1-3 0-0 3, Yanez 1-1 0-0 2, Total 25-44 5-7 58.

3-point--Bern 3-15 (Droge 3-8, Platt 0-3, Haverkamp 0-2, Baumgartner 0-1, Meyer 0-1), Greeley Co. 3-10 (Robertson 2-4, Schneider 1-3, Houston 0-2, Wilson 0-1); Rebounds--Bern 13 (Haverkamp 5), Greeley Co. 30 (Wilson 11); Assists--Bern 2 (Haverkamp, Droge 1 each), Greeley Co. 12 (Miller 4); Steals--Bern 6 (Haverkamp 3), Greeley Co. 10 (Houston, Wilson 4 each); Blocks--Bern 0, Greeley Co. 1 (Yanez 1); Turnovers--Bern 12, Greeley Co. 16; Fouls--Bern 13, Greeley Co. 18; Fouled Out--Bern 0, Greeley Co. 0.