The clock struck midnight for the Rural Vista boys’ basketball squad Wednesday afternoon in Hays.
Coming in as the eight seed in the eight-team field, the Heat took on the role of Cinderella in their quarterfinal round matchup against South Gray. The Rebels entered as the top seed and lone remaining unbeaten team at the Class 1A D-I level, featuring a high-octane offense that topped triple digits twice during the regular season. The closest margin of victory in any of South Gray’s matchups throughout the season was an 18-point spread.
South Gray came out firing on all cylinders, seizing a 24-8 advantage after the first eight minutes on its way to a comfortable 42-17 halftime lead. Rural Vista tightened up the ship in the second hand, taking much better care of the basketball, but the Rebel offense was simply too much to overcome as South Gray outscored the Heat 35-25 in the second half on its way to a 77-42 victory and a trip to the 1A State Tournament semifinals on Friday.
The Rebels were led by the dynamic senior duo of guard Clifton Miller and post Gilbert Peters. Miller led all scorers in the matchup, pouring in 29 points, including six three-point buckets. Peters gathered 20 points, dominating the interior with his 6’6″ frame while sending down three dunks – one being an immaculate, thunderous alley-oop served up by a beautiful half-court, cross-court dish from Miller. In all, ten South Gray (24-0) players cracked the scoring column in the victory.
In his final game for Rural Vista (13-10,) senior Dawson Worrell turned in a stellar effort against the top-ranked team in Class 1A D-I, scoring 20 points to pace the Heat offense. Freshman Cameron Campuzano bounced back from a quiet, four-point first half to finish strong with 14 points in the contest.
While the boys’ season has drawn to a close for Rural Vista, the girls’ season continues on as the Heat will take the court at Gross Memorial Coliseum in Hays Thursday evening as the six seed, squaring off with third-seeded Thunder Ridge in the girls Class 1A D-I quarterfinals.