TULSA — Moments after posing for a mock-family photo with the Super 5 players, Tulsa Union coach Rudy Garcia commented on how fitting it would be for his whole team to take a “family photo” of sorts.
After all, the Class 6A state champion Redskins were the epitome of team unity on the court, a family in the basketball sense. And that was the biggest factor in their success.
Union had talented players, but no superstars attracting major Division I coaches to watch practice. And more importantly, they didn't have any star attitudes.
Each player did his job, and that's why the Redskins won a gold ball.
“You hear coaches talk about chemistry a lot,” said Garcia, The Oklahoman's Super 5 Coach of the Year. “But this group, we threw them into the fire as sophomores.
“It was just a great group of kids who really, truly liked each other. There were no egos, no hidden agendas by anybody. They just did what they needed to do to help this team win.”
Union took over the No. 1 spot in mid-December and never relinquished it, using their combination of size and toughness to fight through the season and finish without a loss. They used stout defense to take Edmond Memorial out of its game in the finals, sparking a second-half rally for a 37-36 victory.