Collier, Hollingshed lead Union to 1st title
Jace Hollingshed gave up the ball and ran to the top of the key.
Standing wide open for just a split second, Hollingshed caught the pass and fired the 3-pointer and watched as the shot fell through the cylinder. Hollingshed held his arm in the air and listened to the roar of the crowd.
Hollingshed’s shot gave Oklahoma Union a 13-point lead in the third quarter and halted Howe’s comeback efforts.
Oklahoma Union outlasted Howe 64-54 at State Fair Arena to win the Class 2A state championship, its first boys title in school history on Saturday. The only other title Oklahoma Union won was girls basketball, which came in 1997.
“It’s crazy,” Hollingshed said. “I can’t describe it. We came one time and won it, that’s crazy. I’m still in shock.”
The duo of Hollingshed and Nate Collier proved too much for Howe to handle. Hollingshed finished with 23 points and nine rebounds while Collier trailed him with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Collier, the 6-foot-3 senior started the game on a scoring tear by dominating in the painted area. He scored eight points in the opening minutes, which led to Oklahoma Union’s fast start and a 1-point advantage.
“When you have a 6’3, 200-pound dude in there, they tell me to go at it every time,” Collier said. “Once we get people in foul trouble, it’s so much easier to get going. At the beginning we just had to get buckets going.”
In the second quarter, Collier’s offensive dominance was backed by Oklahoma Union’s defense. Oklahoma Union held Howe scoreless in the second quarter resulting in a 13-0 run before halftime and a 12-point lead. Collier played a key role in keeping Howe away from the rim and Oklahoma Union benefited.
Oklahoma Union coach Lee Ott said the game plan wasn’t any different from what they’ve done all year.
“Just make them come out and get us,” Ott said. “and make them wear their legs out. Just force them into shooting the 3 and just do what we do.”
Howe’s Brayden Oglesby broke the scoreless drought with a 3-pointer early in the third quarter. Oglesby and Zayn Coggins turned it on in the second half and nearly brought Howe back. Oglesby led Howe with 19 points, scoring four 3-pointers, and Lynn put in 18 of his own. As a collective, the two scored 24 second-half points.
But Howe’s duo wasn’t enough to negate the scoring Oklahoma Union’s duo Collier and Hollingshed provided to lead OKU to a state championship in its first appearance.
“It’s great,” Ott said. “especially to come with my two boys and being with the group I’ve had since third grade, it makes it even better.”