The South Gray Rebels boys basketball team used an overpowering second half to beat the Satanta Indians 66-34 Tuesday night in the SPIAA 2018 League Tournament.
With the win, South Gray will take on Spearville at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.
South Gray, the No. 1 seed, entered the game ranked as the better team compared to No. 8 seed Satanta, but early on the difference could hardly be noticed.
Rebel junior Clifton Miller opened the scoring with a 3-pointer about 18 seconds into the game, but Satanta matched it with a 3 of their own. South Gray senior Gilbert Peters then hit a 3-ball to give South Gray a 6-3 lead, but that disappeared after Satanta made a second 3-pointer.
The first four made shots in the game were all 3's.
The Indians led 14-12 at the end of the first quarter and held with South Gray most of the first half, until a running shot by Miller made the score 22-16 near the end of the second quarter.
South Gray led at the end of the first half, but head coach Mark Applegate said the team didn't start out well enough Tuesday.
"Basically the first half they out-hustled us, they out-played us," Applegate said.
The Rebels weren't ready to play at first, he said, something that was more on him than anyone.
Still, this was also a tight game early because the teams had met already this season, not once but twice.
"This is the third time we've played 'em, and sooner or later (if) you play 'em enough teams are gonna figure out a way to stop some of your offense," Applegate said. "Satanta's well-coached, and (Satanta head coach) Tim (Dusin) did a good job of getting them ready to play."
Applegate said strong shooting was something South Gray knew they were capable of.
"They shot the ball well and we knew they had a couple good shooters, we just didn't get out and guard 'em," Applegate said. "We just didn't get out and play. They out-hustled us and they out-rebounded us in the first half and they just out-played us."
The second-half was better, including the hustle from the team.
"It was a lot better," Applegate said. "I thought we got out on the ball a lot better, I thought we rebounded a lot better, but we didn't give 'em open-looks at the 3. We just played a lot better second half than we did the first."
Longhorns march past Ashland
The Hodgeman County Longhorns beat the Ashland Bluejays 51-31 Tuesday night, having never trailed.
The Longhorns opened the scoring with a 3-pointer 59 seconds into play. Though Ashland scored to make it 3-2, the two teams were never tied after the game's first basket.
Hodgeman County Led 11-5 after the first quarter, 22-19 despite a closing-second 3-pointer by Ashland to end the first half, and 31-23 to end the third quarter.
It was a relatively low-scoring affair.
"They run a really good zone (defense) and zone naturally slows the game sometimes down," Hodgeman County head coach Levi Salmans said. "They were forcing us to make some shots, and fortunately we made just enough and I thought our kids played great D."
Defense was the team's strongest-suit Tuesday night.
"It needs to try to be our strongest-suit every night," Salmans said. "It's been a big point of emphasis. We weren't very good on defense last year, and we're a lot better defensive unit this year and still improving every week."
The team takes on South Central at 6 p.m. Friday night.