The Dodge City Red Demons have been in a sharing mood when it comes to their success on the court, but they weren't in a sharing mood when it came to winning the Western Athletic Conference title.
The Red Demons scored 17 of the first 20 points and never had their lead get below double digits to beat the Indians 53-36 to earn their fourth straight WAC boys basketball title and sixth since 2004.
For Rashaan Taylor, Zach Norton, Shaphan Gross, Jordan Doan and Matt Goedeken, the victory and title was something they had discussed throughout the season and the Red Demons used their patented patient offense and wiry defense in achieving their goal.
"We definitely wanted to go out like that and it feels great. It was a goal that we set during the offseason," Gross said. "This was my first year having a big role on the team, so it felt better than last year, although last year felt pretty good."
Gross scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead the Red Demons (12-7, 6-1), while Jace Larson added 12. Matt Goedeken scored seven points and had five rebounds in the victory, Doan scored five points and had four steals, Taylor scored four points and Norton had three rebounds in the victory.
Dodge City shot 21-of-37 against the Indians, including 10 of 16 after intermission. The Red Demons led 19-5 after the opening quarter and 29-18 at halftime. Hays shot just 6-of-28 in the second half as the Demons' clamped down on defense.
"It's a great feeling, especially winning it outright against Hays," Goedeken said. "We worked very hard and it pays off. Now we have to get ready for sub-state."
Doan is the only three-year varsity player on the squad, so the four-peat was special to him because of his ties to the earlier league titles.
"My first year, I was just kind of a role player," Doan said. "I kept working during the offseason and the on season to get better. Now I am a senior and we completed our four-peat, so that makes it special.
Page 2 of 2 - Lane Clark scored 10 points to lead Hays (11-8, 4-3). The Indians were the only team that had a chance of catching the Red Demons for the WAC title, but they would have had to had beaten the Red Demons and Great Bend to earn at least a share of the title.
DCHS head coach Dennis Hamilton was just as pleased about his team's accomplishment and know there is still a lot to play for in Friday night's game at Liberal. A win would catapult the Demons to the No. 2 spot with a possibility of playing Garden City at the DCHS Fieldhouse for a Class 6A state berth. Both teams would have the same record, but Dodge City owns the tiebreaker.
But that's Friday night and Hamilton just wants the Demons to relish in what their Tuesday night accomplishment.
"This is one that could allow us to host on our home court throughout the playoffs, so it's a big game," Hamilton said. "They'll be fine. I want them to enjoy this and we'll be ready for Liberal when Friday night comes around."
HAYS (36) – Kyler Niernberger 2, Nicholas Petz 8, Adam Deterding 2, Lane Clark 10, Kade Parker 3, Derek Bixerman 4, Brady Werth 7. Totals 13 5-8 36.
DODGE CITY (53) – Rashaan Taylor 4, Jackson Oldham 2, Shaphan Gross 17, Austin Weiser 6, Jordan Doan 5, Jace Larson 12, Matt Goedeken 7. Totalso 21 5-9 53.
Hays51399 – 36
Dodge City19 10177 – 53
Three-point baskets – Hays 5 (Petz 2, Clark 2, Parker 1), Dodge City 6 (Gross 3, Weiser 2, Doan 1). Records—Hays 11-8 (4-3), Dodge City 12-7 (6-1).