Fort Cobb-Broxton coach Scott Hines has seen a good share of Class A state tournaments, and he thinks this year’s bracket is as tough as any of them.
Even though his team is sitting atop the rankings with a 28-0 record, Hines knows it’ll take three strong performances to come away with a gold ball.
“This is as tough as I’ve ever seen it,” Hines said of the Class A field, which begins play Thursday at Yukon. “Hollis is playing well. We found out last year just how good Weleetka is when they beat us, and they have most of their guys back. It’s wide-open, just a really tough bracket.”
Hines’ squad starts two freshmen and two sophomores, and three of those four players are his leading scorers — freshmen Cameron Hines and Greyden Steinmetz each average around 16 points per game, while sophomore Elijah Collins averages 12.
The only senior in the starting lineup, forward Daniel Collins, led the team in scoring last year but has moved inside to fill the team’s frontcourt needs.
“He’s our leading rebounder now,” Scott Hines said. “You’ve got to give him a lot of credit for that, because not a lot of kids would move inside. It has cost him some shots.”
Defending champion Glencoe is ranked second, led once again by brothers Jake and Ty Lazenby. The sons of coach John Lazenby are both averaging more than 20 points per game in Glencoe’s fast-paced offense.
“We average about 85 points per game,” the coach said. “Most teams in the playoffs have tried to hold the ball and control tempo on us, but we play fast, and just go play our game.”
Glencoe opens at 2 p.m. Thursday against the lowest-ranked team in the field, No. 14 Velma-Alma, which is making its third straight appearance at state — an example of the depth in this year’s tournament.
“They kind of snuck in the tournament by upsetting Cyril, but anyone who follows small-school basketball knows that Velma-Alma is gonna be there at the end of the year,” John Lazenby said. “I really think this tournament is wide-open. Just about any team could go put together three good games and win it, just like we did last year.”
HOLLIS HITTING ITS STRIDE
Basketball has been a short season for Hollis.
When the Tigers open play in the state tournament against Pond Creek-Hunter at 8:30 p.m. Thursday in Yukon, it will be exactly two months since their first game of the season.
Because of the team’s state championship football season that ended on Dec. 19, the Tigers didn’t get basketball started until after the holiday break.
They suffered their third loss of the season on Feb. 1, 43-31 to Class 2A Merritt. And since then, the Tigers have won eight straight by an average margin of 25.7 points.