Howe uses depth to win 6th title
Caitlyn Stacy reached up and knocked the pass out of the air.
She gathered herself at midcourt and found Raelyn Delt sprinting down the floor. Delt received the pass and laid it up for the score which led to a Silo timeout.
All night Howe had dominated with its press defense and in the final minutes, it was still on full display.
With outstanding press defense and fastbreak scoring, Howe rolled to a 71-57 win over Silo on Saturday in the Class 2A state championship game. Howe’s offense excelled as ten different players scored. And on defense, Howe was even better, forcing Silo into 30 turnovers.
“In 2019 we had a great offensive player in Jalei Oglesby and these kids took a secondary, supporting role,” Howe coach Chris Brown said. “And last year they didn’t get the opportunity to play. But the depth is our strength. Our strength is the amount of players that we can play and it showed today.”
Howe shifted to a full-court press and its intensive effort threw Silo out of sorts. Howe forced Silo into 18 first-half turnovers. With the press creating fast break opportunities, Howe went on a scoring barrage. Nine different players scored for Howe during the first-half run and the versatile attack led to a 15-point halftime lead. It was a run that Silo would not recover from.
“Defensively, we felt like we could pressure them,” Brown said. “We played them last year and we didn’t play very good. We turned them over a lot in that game and lost. So today we felt like, keep those turnovers but let’s take good shots every time we got one. And I felt like in the second quarter we really did. We got good shots and drove that nail in there.”
Howe’s Kalan Nye led all scorers with 15 points and she also led Howe’s full-court press. The 5-foot-9 junior grabbed seven steals throughout the night and was constantly attacking on the offensive end as a result. She gave credit to the entire defensive system for her outstanding performance.
“Our defense wearing them down,” Nye said. “We have a deep bench and we work together really well. We know we have defense so we wanted to get at their legs. That was our game plan.”
Silo’s Tiani Ellison went on a scoring tear in the second half after getting into early foul trouble. She scored 12 of her 16 points in the final two quarters and helped bring Silo’s deficit to as little as eight points.
But in the midst of Silo’s fourth-quarter comeback attempt, Ellison picked up her fifth foul after being called for a charge and Silo was forced to try to win without its star forward. Silo’s Presley McNight and Bradi Harman did all they could, each finishing with 11 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Howe’s versatile attack.
“We just all came ready to play,” Twyman said. “We knew it was going to be tough.”
Along with Nye’s 15 points, Raelyn Delt and Makayla Twyman scored 10 and Maddie Ramsey put in nine points.
With the win, Howe defends its 2019 state championship, wins its sixth title and its fourth under Brown. Unlike Howe’s team in 2019, which was led by Jalei Oglesby, Howe won the title as a collective group.
“It took all of us to win,” Raelyn Delt said.