YUKON — When it’s best offensive threat fouled out with more than six minutes to play, Hollis had to find another way to hold onto its lead.
With solid free throw shooting in the fourth quarter, the fifth-ranked Tigers closed it out, 45-39 over No. 7 Pond Creek-Hunter in the first round of the Class A boys state basketball tournament Thursday at Yukon High School.
“Each game we play, it seems like we have a different guy step up,” coach Larry Taylor said. “We had some kids who didn’t play as well as they’ve been playing, but I feel comfortable with this team, knowing that somebody is gonna step up.
“Jordan (Campbell) hit some big free throws at the end. Jace (Webb) didn’t have a lot of points, but he came up with some huge rebounds for us.”
Campbell was 5-of-6 at the line in the final 90 seconds to finish with 13 points, and Tyler Bess had 12 points before fouling out early in the fourth quarter. T.J. Walker added 10 for the Tigers.
Pond Creek-Hunter, making its first state tournament appearance since 1986, cut a 10-point deficit to 36-33 in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get enough shots to fall. Kade Tracy had 13 points to lead the Panthers, who concluded their season at 19-5.
Hollis (20-3) will face No. 11 Kiowa at 4:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals at State Fair Arena.
“These kids have been focused on getting to the Big House since the sixth grade,” Taylor said. “They got beat last year in the area tournament, and the year before, and I thought we really played tight tonight. But the mark of a good club is that you can play bad and still win. So we’ve still got something to look forward to. I can promise we’ll come back with a better attitude tomorrow.”