The sting of last year’s loss in the Class B state title is now just a bad memory for Arnett.
The Wildcats rallied from a 21-point first half deficit to stun Coyle, 71-60, Saturday night at State Fair Arena and win their first state championship.
Junior forward Tyler Tune, one of two starters returning from last year’s state runner-up team for Arnett, scored a game-high 39 points and pulled down 21 rebounds to lead the Wildcats to the improbable come-from-behind win..
Tune scored 32 points in the second half, including 22 after picking up his fourth foul with 3:08 left in the third quarter. Arnett outscored Coyle 48-23 in the second half after trailing by 14 points at halftime.
“He is something else,” said Trevor Bryant, the Wildcats’ other returning starter who chipped in 17 points. “He is absolutely unstoppable. People try to double and triple him and he still scores 30 a game.”
Coyle had no answer in the second half for Tune, who outplayed Coyle’s 6-6 senior center Tony Aska Jr.
Aska had 16 rebounds, but scored just four points in the game, 16 below his season average.
“I couldn’t get the ball in my hands as much as I wanted,” Aska said.
The 6-4 Tune played most of the second half with four fouls, and even took two charges in the last 3:08 of the game.
“I was really careful,” Tune said. “I wasn’t going to take that fifth foul.”
It appeared Coyle would blow Arnett out of the gym in the first half. Even with Aska on the bench saddled with two early fouls, the Bluejackets went on a 14-0 run and built a 21-point lead, 27-6.
Tune thought at the time that the Wildcats were headed for the same fate as last year, when they were destroyed by Forgan, 73-39, in the state championship game.
“I thought, ‘oh crap’ we were going to relive last year, getting our butts kicked,” Tune said. “But we hung in there and came out the second half and pushed the ball and got on top.”
Arnett opened the third quarter with a 12-2 run to quickly get back into the game. By the end of the third period, Coyle was clinging to a one-point lead.
When Tune opened the fourth quarter with a layup, the Wildcats had their first lead since 5-4 in the first period.
The lead exchanged hands twice more before Arnett seized it for good, 55-54, on another Tune bucket. The Wildcats then outscored Coyle 16-6 down the stretch.
“They had the momentum and we couldn’t get it stopped,” said Coyle coach Josh Sumrall. “They got tougher, both mentally and physically.”
Bryant said Arnett coach Allen Tune told the team at halftime to keep running.
“We pushed the ball and it paid off,” he said. “They got tired.”
Bryant, a senior, said during the post-game celebration that the sting of last year’s blowout loss to Forgan didn’t completely go away with Saturday night’s incredible win, “but it definitely helps.”