- Associated Press - Sunday, March 19, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - It took all of one second for Becky Hines’ emotions to spill over as she thought about the way her family has come of age.

When she says her boys grew up in State Fair Arena, a tired but grand old basketball barn, she isn’t lying.

Kellen was born on a Tuesday,” the mother said. “We played an area tournament game that Friday and I was on the bench, keeping stats. The next week we played in the state championship and he was here.”

At just over 10 days old, Kellen was cradled safely in his grandmother’s arms near Section 324 as his dad, Fort Cobb-Broxton coach Scott Hines, won his first state championship. Five more titles would follow; Kellen and his older brother of two years, Cameron, would help deliver three of them to their father.

“We’ve been doing this together their whole life,” Becky said, fighting back tears as that era came to a close.

The Hines family experienced their final high school win together March 4. Scott directed things from the huddle, Kellen and Cameron led the team in scoring, and Becky kept numbers from the bench as the top-ranked Mustangs rolled to a 67-52 win over No. 2 Okay in the Class A state championship.

The result didn’t surprise anyone. Fort Cobb beat Okay by 20 for the title a year ago.

Few teams in the state, if any, have piled up more boys basketball wins than Fort Cobb over the past four years. Senior point guard Cameron Hines has started the whole way. After losing as a freshman in the state quarterfinals he helped lead the Mustangs on a three-year tear, winning Class A back-to-back years after claiming Class B in 2015.

Last year, Kellen joined him on the varsity team as a high-scoring freshman guard. Together they went unbeaten at home and at State Fair Arena, The Lawton Constitution (https://bit.ly/2nsV23a ) reported.

“It’s so special,” Cameron said. “I can’t really describe how I felt giving dad and everyone a hug, my brother. It’s just special.”

The State Fair Arena video board shows clips of past title games during halftime. One clip this past week showed two freckle-faced boys with their dad’s ears. They were little tikes with painted faces, cheering wildly for athletes they hoped to emulate. The Hines Bros. grew older and basketball became a year-round obsession.

AAU ball in the summer was important for their development as well as exposure to college scouts; Cameron is headed to East Central next season to continue his hoops career and Kellen, an upcoming junior, will likely have similar options when the time arrives.

But the lonely AAU courts never compared to the high school experience - opposing schools’ gyms, rivalries, musty locker rooms.

“This,” Becky said pointing at fans and players mingling after Saturday’s title, “is so much more fun. So much more fun.”

Her voiced cracked again: “Everybody out here is like family.”

Winning county and state tournament titles for their hometown meant something more, even if the Mustangs were considered heavy favorites most nights. And coach Hines’ teams often were, though they haven’t always been that way.

Scott’s first job was coaching a Dill City team with just six players. That was before the school consolidated with Burns Flat. He lost every game that season and one of his freshman starters hadn’t even been good enough to start in junior high.

Things got better. His next job was at nearby Canute, where he took the school to its first state tournament. Hines had impressed himself with that feat.

“When you come out of college you think you know everything. I came here (to Fort Cobb) and it put me in my place. It made me understand how important players are,” the coach said.

Hines got his first championship at Fort Cobb in 2000, but some forget that team had just nine players. He since developed the program into something ball players from all around Caddo County want to be part of. This year’s roster goes 20 players deep.

The kids wearing jerseys, Scott says, are the reason Fort Cobb is now one of 17 state high schools to own six or more boys basketball championships.

“Every night you’d see their scooters by the gymnasium doors, then a few years later it’s their bicycles, then a few years later it’s their cars,” Scott siad. “I’m lucky to have an administration that lets them use the gym when I’m not there. I’ll go up and check to see if everything’s OK and (that) nobody’s doing anything stupid.

“But it’s just thousands and thousands of hours those guys put in. People ask me what I’m doing coach-wise, what I’m doing differently than everybody else. That’s not me. It’s the hours those guys put in.”

Two of those guys own a piece of the coach’s heart. He’ll see Cameron off to college next fall and continue coaching Kellen, who is poised to become the area’s best scorer.

“I tried to soak it in as much as I could,” Kellen said of playing with his brother and dad these past two years.

There was a lot to soak in.

“It’s hard to put in words, especially without crying. I’m not even gonna try,” Scott said. “It’s unbelievable.”


Information from: The Lawton Constitution, https://www.swoknews.com

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