1A II Boys: Hanover too much for Northern Valley, Wildcats move to championship game
The Wildcats had four players in double figures in the win.
GREAT BEND — It was evident early on which team had more experience heading into the game.
Hanover tipped a ball and went the other way, leading to a layup from Jacob Jueneman less than 10 seconds into the game for the quick lead, and the Hanover Wildcats never looked back.
Hanover led from start to finish in the 85-58 win over Northern Valley on Friday afternoon inside Barton Gymnasium. The Wildcats advance to their first state championship game since 2018, when they lost to South Gray.
The Wildcats will look for their first state title since 2017. It will be their 10th appearance in a title game, tying them for the 10th most title game appearances.
Northern Valley (14-10) appeared to be overwhelmed from the start, as it missed its first 10 shots of the game. By that point, Hanover had built a double-digit lead.
"That's our mentality as a team," first-year Hanover coach Cory Jensen said. "We're going to be in attack mode whether we are on offense or defense."
Blake Hynek continued to pour on the pressure. The senior scored nine of the next 15 points as Hanover built a 17-point lead with 7:04 remaining in the first half.
"It was Blake tonight, but it can vary per game," Jensen said. "We have four guys who average 10 points per game."
Jueneman and Hynek took turns attacking the Huskies as they would combine for the next 15 points as Hanover led 49-30 at the break.
Juenemen would finish with 14 points and seven rebounds.
"We knew they were going to hit threes," Jueneman said. "We hoped our defense could slow them down enough so our offense could score."
Hanover (23-1) forced 22 turnovers on the night and held Northern Valley to only 33.9% shooting on the night.
The Wildcats wasted little time pushing their lead into the 20s when Philip Doebele hit a 3-pointer with 3:08 remaining in the third quarter.
Hanover's aggressive style of defense forced 33 turnovers on the afternoon and Northern Valley struggled to get into their offense. However, when Northern Valley was able to get an offensive moment, they were getting their 3s up. And in the second half, they hit them.
"It's really the team to thank tonight," said Hynek, who finished with 22 points. "We knew what we needed to do and my teammates kept feeding me and it worked."
A last push by the Huskies was made as Jeremiah Hansen hit a 3-pointer, forcing a timeout with 5:27 remaining in the game, bringing them within 71-56.
Hanover would respond with a slew of free throws to push the lead back out to 75-56 with 3:59 remaining.
In all, Hanover had four players in double figures with at least 13 or more. Emmitt Jueneman had a quiet 22-point performance.
Colton Bailey led Northern Valley with 15 points off the bench. He was 6 of 8 from the field.
After winning the 8-man D-II title in December, the Wildcats were set to go for another title, facing Elyria Christian on Saturday night. When Hanover last won a basketball title, they also were able to pull off the double feat with the championship in football.
Players like Jueneman and Hynek were freshmen on the team who were able to clinch the football and basketball double dunk of titles.
"We've always had the tradition of going to state," Jueneman said. "It would be amazing to win another one for my hometown."
"We're grateful to have the athletes that help us continuously get to these positions to win as much as we have," Hynek said.
A win on Saturday would be their seventh state title in basketball, moving them in a tie with Buhler for the ninth-most boys basketball state championships in Kansas history.
"Hanover has a long tradition of good basketball," Jensen said. "We're just proud we can carry that on this year."
HANOVER BOYS 85, NORTHERN VALLEY 58
NORTHERN VALLEY (14-10) — Bailey 6-8 3-4 15, Sides 5-17 0-0 14, Loya 4-11 2-2 13, Hansen 3-11 0-0 9, Thalheim 2-6 1-3 7. TOTALS: 20-59 6-11 58.
HANOVER (23-1) — Hynek 8-16 8-12 24, E. Jueneman 9-13 3-4 22, J. Jueneman 6-10 3-3 15, Dinler 5-11 2-3 13, Doebele 2-6 0-0 5, Klipp 1-1 0-1 2, Cook 0-0 2-2 2, C. Jueneman 1-4 0-0 2. TOTALS: 32-62 18-25 85.
3-point goals — NV 12-38 (Side 4-13, Loya 3-8, Hansen 3-9, Thalheim 2-5, Brands 0-2, Preston 0-1). H 3-11 (Doebele 1-4, E. Jueneman 1-3, Dinler 1-3, J. Jueneman 0-1). Fouled out — none. Rebounds — NV 34 (Bailey 8). H 43 (Hynek 11). Turnovers — NV 22, H 15. Total fouls — NV 17, H 10