HAYS — With Clifton Miller raining down 3s and Gilbert Peters imposing his will inside, South Gray’s bid for a Class 1A Division I title got off to a promising start on Wednesday in Gross Memorial Coliseum.

Top-seeded South Gray started easing its way past Rural Vista from the get-go, rolling to a 77-42 victory to cruise into the semifinals and move to 23-0. 

Junior guard Miller led the way with 28 points and knocked down six 3-pointers while Peters, a 6-foot-6 senior forward, racked up 20 points and eight rebounds. 

The Rebels raced out to a 22-4 lead and led 42-17 by halftime. They will face St. John (19-5) in the semis at 4:45 p.m. on Friday. 

“We just wanted to come out with intensity and set the pace of the game,” Peters said. 

“It’s really important to start off well early,” longtime South Gray coach Mark Applegate added. “All these guys except for one (freshman Aaron Skidmore) were up here last year. They knew what the environment was going to be like coming up.”

South Gray knocked down nine 3-pointers (seven in the first half) and Rural Vista had no answer down low for Gilbert, who went 9 of 12 from the field.

“When you put someone like Gilbert Peters in the middle, he draws a crowd so that leaves our guards open for some shots,” Applegate said. 

South Gray, which finished runner-up to Hanover last year,  stayed on the gas pedal in the second half, which included a highlight reel alley-oop to Peters for his second of the dunk game. 

“We don’t practice (the alley-oop) too often, just in warmups a little bit,” a smiling Peters said. “It’s falling pretty good this year. It’s definitely fun.”

As good as the Rebels were offensively, Applegate was just as pleased with South Gray’s showing on the defensive end. Rural Vista finished 17 of 46 from the field and committed 21 turnovers. 

“Our defense has really been our strength all year,” Applegate said. “I know we’ve been putting some numbers on the board, but our guards are playing really good defense out there, and of course when you got somebody like Gilbert in there protecting the lane, it really helps.”

Dawson Worrell led Rural Vista (13-9) with 20 points and Cameron Campuzano added 14.