Holloway's Moundridge teams to be honored by KBCA

6/26/2014

By BRETT MARSHALL

By BRETT MARSHALL

bmarshall@gctelegram.com

It would be an understatement to say that Jacy Holloway has had a highlight reel of memories during his life as a high school and college basketball player.

That is what comes when a player has memories of being a starter on four consecutive state high school championship teams, and then taking that talent to the Division I level and playing at Iowa State University against the Big Eight and some of the top collegiate players in America, earning all-conference honors in the process.

Now, more than two decades removed from his stellar prep career, Holloway and his Moundridge Wildcats teammates and coaches are scheduled to be inducted Saturday afternoon in Salina at the annual Kansas Basketball Coaches Association awards reception.

The induction ceremony, which will be at 1:30 p.m. at Sam's Chapel in Pioneer Hall, is part of a day-long schedule that will culminate Saturday evening with the 2014 KBCA girls and boys' all-star games at the Mabee Gym on the campus of Kansas Wesleyan University.

"There's a lot (of memories)," Holloway said Wednesday during an interview at Garden City High School. "You can't necessarily remember all the games, but we had a bunch of guys who really got along together. We really did a good job of keeping each other accountable."

Now, after completing his fourth year as the head coach of the GCHS boys program, Holloway says he knows just how much work went into one of the most amazing runs of high school basketball in Kansas history.

Holloway and his Wildcat teammates, playing for coach Vance Unrau, ran roughshod over Class 2A from 1990 to 1993, claiming four straight state championships, while compiling an astounding record of 99 wins and just four losses. The final two years of that four-year dominance saw the Wildcats put together back-to-back 26-0 seasons.

"Now as a coach, I realize what we did probably made it easier on coach Unrau," Holloway said. "He'd say that too about our group. It was work, but it was fun at the same time."

While it cannot be certain, records compiled by the Kansas State High School Activities Association and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame indicate that Holloway may be one of only two boys players to have started all four years on state championship teams. The other? Current junior-to-be at the University of Kansas, Perry Ellis, who accomplished the same from 2009 to 2012.

If one spends much time with Holloway, he is a very understated coach, and person. But he's also intensely competitive.

That's the combination he tries to communicate to his current players at GCHS.

"Pretty much everybody I've played or worked with, I've tried to take something from them," Holloway said. "Coach Unrau was a no-nonsense kind of a guy, and never cussed. He never belittled us. Everything was a teaching moment. I have to remind myself of that every now and then, that it worked for us. There's always an opportunity to stop practice and explain what you need to do, and why. That's what coach Unrau was so good at with us."

Holloway said it becomes all the more special with the upcoming induction ceremony and the celebration that comes with gathering to see his teammates and coaches.

"Coach (Unrau) told all of us when we were seniors that when you turn 30, you'll realize then, more than when we did it, what we actually accomplished," Holloway said. "I remember when I did turn 30, I called him and told him I started to realize how special it was. Now, getting into coaching, you realize how tough it is just to get to the state, let alone win it, and then win it four times in a row."

Holloway said his freshman season and winning the first of the four titles was extra special because of being able to play with his older brother, who was a senior.

"That's always a bond we'll have, not only as brothers, but as teammates," Holloway said. "That was pretty neat. At the time I didn't understand how special that was, but to get to play with him, looking back now, is something I'll always remember."

During his sophomore and junior seasons, Holloway turned from being a supporting scorer to one of the top scorers on the team, with the cast of players changing each season, and Unrau bringing along each team and producing championships along the way.

"I think we always had higher expectations for ourselves than anybody else ever did," Holloway said. "If I had to point to any one thing, I'd say that we worked harder than anybody else in practice, and it carried over to the games. Sometimes, the games were easier than practice."

Holloway said the most difficult championship was probably in his sophomore season, when the Wildcats lost three regular-season games, including the final one to Halstead, just before the postseason started. Not only did Moundridge lose those three, the Wildcats failed to win the Mid-Kansas League title that year. One loss came against league rival Hillsboro, which claimed the 3A state crown that year as well.

"The regular season schedule, which also included Wichita Collegiate, helped prepare us for state," Holloway said. "Hillsboro was really good. They had two Division I players, so we felt we were ready to compete at the 2A level."

Producing consecutive unbeaten seasons to wind down a stellar prep career also is something that Holloway says remains a great memory.

"I think it was a relief to get the first one, but I don't think we felt the pressure our senior year," Holloway said. "We had some new starters, some new guys off the bench, and I don't think people expected us to do the same thing. I think that junior year, we probably had our best team. The seniors that season were great leaders, and I feel fortunate to have been part of that group."

With such a pedigree of success, Holloway said he can see what worked so well for his team during those four years, and he tries to instill that in his current players, or those who come to camps.

"I'm reminded of what kind of basketball-smart kids that I did have a chance to play with when growing up," Holloway said. "I'm proud of what we did. No. 1, we had talent, but we put in the time to get better. We were never satisfied. I've seen other teams practice, and having been a junior college coach, and now at the high school level, the teams that practice, the ones who work, they are the ones who see the best results. Talk is cheap, and if you don't work hard for it, you'll never get everything out of it that you say you want."

Saturday's induction ceremony also will have its bittersweet moment for Holloway. Earlier this year, his mother passed away in Moundridge, and the former prep star says without her mentoring when he was growing up, he'd never had the experience that he did.

"It's gonna be tough because she was so special to what we did," Holloway said of his mom. "She pretty much helped us through and taught us what we knew about basketball. I'll certainly be thinking of her, because it wouldn't have happened without her."

KBCA notes: The Telegram area will be represented by one player this year as Holcomb's Heath Tucker will be competing for the Blue team, with coaching by Greg Raleigh. The 6-3 guard is headed to Washburn University next year to play ball for coach Bob Chipman and the Ichabods. Tucker was a member of The Telegram's All-Area first team this past season.

Other honorees are Hall of Fame player (posthumously) Gary Schoen of Beloit High; Hall of Fame Coach Shane Cordell of Little River; Hall of Fame girls teams — Little River teams of 1995 to 1998; College coaches of the year — Men: Gregg Marshall of Wichita State; Women: Jody Adams of Wichita State; Junior College Coaches: Men: Jesse Shaw of Pratt; Women: Mike Helmer, Butler; High School girls coaches of the year: Class 1A-I, Shelly Hoyt, Hoxie; Class 1A-II, Roger Schmelzle, Baileyville B B; Class 2A, Pat Stiles, Central Plains; Class 3A, Matt Richardson, Hesston; Class 4A-I, Terry English, Bishop Miege; Class 4A-II, Jayson Duncan, Santa Fe Trail; Class 5A, Derek Zeck, Leavenworth; Class 6A, Antwain Scales, Wichita South.

Boys coaches: Class 1A-I, Tim Latham, Marais des Cygnes Valley; Class 1A-II, Lance Bergmann, St. John's-Tipton; Class 2A, Clint Kinnamon, St. John; Class 3A, Greg Raleigh, Hesston; Class 4A-I, Kurt Kinnamon, McPherson; Class 4A-II, Kyle Deterding, Eudora; Class 5A, Rod Briggs, Lansing; Class 6A, Ed Fritz, Blue Valley Northwest. Olpe's Jesse Nelson will be recognized as the National Coach of the Year.

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