Collins basketball now has stories to tell

March 16, 2017 FieldsColumn

Collins Coach Chris Gaither (Photo by Tim Webb)

BY MIKE FIELDS

Collins’ basketball program’s seven-year itch to win a game in the state tournament finally got scratched.

The Titans pulled away in overtime to beat Elliott County 65-57 in the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ Sweet 16 in Rupp Arena Thursday night.

It was the first state tournament victory for Collins, which was created when Shelby County was split in two high schools in 2010. The Titans also won the 8th Region in 2015, but lost their Sweet Sixteen opener to eventual state champ Owensboro.

Collins dodged a bullet — or more accurately, it got in the way of a charging Lion — in Thursday night’s win over Elliott County.

After the Titans’ Dominique Turner hit two free throws with :08.5 left, the Lions’ Korbin Spencer went the length of the court and attacked the rim. But Charlie Cochran was there to take a charge.

Collins scored the first seven points in OT and was on its way to the quarterfinals.

“It’s nice,” Coach Chris Gaither said. “You get to tell stories about these guys winning the first game at Rupp Arena for your program. It’s huge for your program because it creates the stories that will live throughout Collins history, and it’s all about these guys.”

These guys include Cochran (23 points, 13 rebounds, 4 blocks); Nick Fort (17 points, 7 rebounds); Dayvion McKnight (12 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds), and Turner (10 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks).

Gaither was an all-state player at Grayson County and led the Cougars to the 2001 Sweet Sixteen.

They lost to North Hardin the first round, but Gaither stuffed the stat line with 19 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds and 4 steals.

“It was really special the way Grayson County and the community made you enjoy every bit of it,” Gaither said. “But now as a coach, it’s more special because you get to view it from a different perspective. It’s more emotional because you see how the kids react and respond to all the love the Collins community is showing them.”

Collins’ Dominique Turner, left, battles Elliott County’s Gage Evans for the ball. (Photo by Tim Webb)

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