Hug closed the gap. It was just so big to start, the result was the same.
The Hawks made Friday's Division I state semifinal a game for three quarters before Bishop Gorman took control and coasted to a 72-52 victory at the Orleans Arena.
The improvement from last year's 45-point Gorman win in the state championship game was obvious from the start. But Hug wasn't looking for a moral victory. It wanted the win and felt it was there for the taking.
"We had one intention coming in: win the ballgame," Hug coach Keith Crawford said. "And we knew we could. We had them on the ropes and we let them go.
"I feel bad for my kids, because it's been a fun ride, but I don't think they represented Hug High School tonight. I don't think they left it all on the court. I don't think Gorman is 20 points better than us."
Crawford wasn't the only one to feel that way.
"We could have beat these guys and it was clear from the start of the game," Hug senior Sam Williams said.
Gorman, which will meet Centennial in tonight's championship game, never appeared on the ropes, but Hug was more than in the game early on. The Hawks made their first four shot attempts for a 10-4 lead and traded the lead with the Gaels for most of the second quarter before Gorman took a 33-30 advantage into halftime.
Gorman came out of the intermission looking to dominate in all the areas they held advantages, which were many: size, athleticism, poise and shot-making ability.
Then Williams picked up his third foul and watched most of the third quarter from the bench. Gorman, in search of its 14th state title and fourth in five years, upped the lead from five to 10 with Williams out of the game.
"We just kind of fell apart slowly," said Williams, who finished with 12 points.
Raymond Kerr led the Hawks (23-7) with 14 points, but had just one after halftime. Hug did not score for 4:46 to start the fourth.
"Midway through the third we just went away from the simple things," Crawford said. "That was a shock because we usually adjust well at halftime. ... At that point, I think they just wanted to out-jump Gorman. That's not going to happen.
"We went on a drought there. I'm not going to say we couldn't score. We just didn't score. Our shot selection went backwards when Sam went out. We started going one-on-one more instead of playing team ball."
Rashad Muhammad, younger brother of 2011 Hug-killer Shabazz Muhammad, had 20 points at halftime and finished with 20 for Gorman (28-3).
"Shad's been doing that pretty much the whole second half of the season," Gaels coach Grant Rice said.
Trey Kennedy added 17 points. Muhammad and Kennedy combined for 15 points in the third, when Gorman put away the game.