By Alex Hammeke – KSHSAA Tournament Correspondent
The Finale of 1A DII State Championship weekend at Barton Community College was undoubtedly the most physical. Hanover shot out to a quick lead, and despite multiple rallies, Elyria Christian could not cut the deficit to single digits. Hanover would win their seventh state boys basketball title and added to their 8-Man DII Football title this fall with a 52-40 victory.
Hanover would go on a 16-2 run after Zach Stucky made the opening basket for Elyria Christian. Emmitt Jueneman, Colin Jueneman, and Jacob Jueneman got the Wildcats rolling, and Keagan Dimler would connect on a three point shot. Stucky would connect on a pair of free throws to cut the Eagle deficit to 9, but another three point shot from Dimler would increase the Wildcat lead to 12 heading into the second quarter. Hanover would keep the lead over double digits for the rest of the contest.
The trio of Jueneman cousins would strike again, forcing a 6-2 run to begin the second quarter, which extended the Wildcat lead. Josef Hobson would then erupt for a 5-2 personal run before half, but it was all Wildcats, as they went into the locker room with a 24-11 lead over the Eagles.
Elyria Christian came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders, hitting four of their first six. Keyan Wiggers started off the Elyria Christian scoring with a hoop-n-harm jumper, followed by layups from Bret Anderson and a jumper from Hobson. Hanover always had a response, with buckets from Jacob Jueneman and Dimler to keep the Wildcats in control. Elyria Christian would cut the lead down to 11 when Anderson had a 5-0 run, converting a three point play and a successful trip to the charity stripe, but Hanover would push the lead back up to 13 off of a pair of free throws from Jacob Klipp.
The fourth quarter was primarily decided at the free throw line, with the teams combining for 21 attempts at the line in the fourth quarter, with 13 of them makes. Hanover went 8-13 down the stretch while their counterpart Elyria Christian went 5-8 from the line. Dimler hit two straight buckets to start the quarter, followed by a Hobson three pointer to cut the lead back down to 14. Both teams were heaving in foul trouble, and after a full timeout from Hanover, only three scoring plays did not happen at the free throw line. Blake Hynek would pick up his fourth foul, and the senior would ball out, scoring 7 of his 10 down the stretch, including a 5-0 personal run. Three players would foul out in the stretch, with Ben Unruh and Keyan Wiggers fouling out for Elyria Christian, and Colin Jueneman was the lone foul out for Hanover. The teams combined for 40 personal fouls, the most among the six games in Great Bend this weekend.
Elyria Christian was led in scoring by the 13 point performance from Josef Hobson, who went 3-5 from the arc in the contest. Zach Stucky added 10 points for the Eagles. Elyria Christian finished their season 16-10.
Hanover was led by Keagan Dimler, who scored 18 points on 6-8 shooting, including 3-5 from the arc. Jacob Juneneman almost had a double double with his 11 point, 9 rebound performance, including 4 on the offensive glass. Blake Hynek added 10 points, including 3 steals.