The Giltner boys basketball team has swept the competition at the state tournament the last two years, winning six straight games in Lincoln and collecting two Class D-2 championships.
Despite the recent success, this year's Hornets are taking a different approach going into its first game of the state tourney.
"I think we're more out to prove something," said Giltner coach Matt Drew, whose seventh-seeded Hornets (21-4) open the tournament Thursday against second-seeded Wynot (22-3) at 7 p.m. at Lincoln High. "I think our kids look at it as we are underdogs and we have to prove ourselves. Again, I think that comes back to that we're a different team than last year."
Drew, who is in his sixth season as the Hornets' head coach, has said in the past that this year's team wants to prove it can be successful as a team despite losing Drew Ott, who was key in the previous two state title runs — Ott is now at the University of Iowa playing football.
Giltner starts five seniors, who have found their roles on the team as the season progressed. According to their head coach, all of the seniors tried to be the same player early in the season, but now each knows what his job on the team is. Drew said Jake Findley is the team's defensive stopper, while Dylan Hinrichs creates offensive opportunities. Ryan Kleier mans the paint, Kyle Hawhthorne has the quickness and Dustin Hastings is the go-to guy late in the game. Drew added fellow senior Dillon Gartner into the mix, saying the 6-foot-4 senior uses his size and rebounding ability when he's in the game.