College Sports

Four times as special

Jacy Holloway's natural instinct before basketball games was to feel nervous.

This was normal.

What happened once he got on the court was most decidedly not.

"My mom thought it was weird, I think everybody kind of considered it weird," Holloway said. "But once the game started I got into this kind of zone where nothing else mattered but the game.... I was able to focus so much on what was going on that everything else would just fade away. I think later on it helped my teammates because they always knew they could count on me to be locked in. They knew I was getting into that zone and everything was about the game."

It was that uber-focus that guided Moundridge to four straight Class 2A titles with Holloway from 1990 to 1993.

"The thing I remember most is being able to play with my brother, Brian, my freshman year," said Holloway, a point guard who went on to play for Iowa State. "They took second the year before I got to high school, so it very well could've been five in a row."

Camilla Hartzler can relate to what Holloway went through, winning four titles in a row for Spearville from 1987 to 1990. The first title came at the Class 1A level and the last three came in 2A.

"You don't realize what a big deal it was, what an amazing accomplishment it was, until much, much later," said Hartzler, who played college basketball at Evangel. "You'll never experience that kind of feeling again."

Both Holloway and Hartzler remember an immense amount of pressure when it came time to try for a fourth title... and an immense sense of relief once it was all over.

"I remember just being in the locker room and being able to take a deep breath," Hartzler said. "We could finally relax."

Holloway had a classmate, Dwight Helms, who was a bench player on the first state title team and a starter on the last three. He also had the same coach, Vance Unrau, all four years.

"The pressure was pretty high so it was nice to have Dwight there, who was going through it with me," Holloway said. "The last year we always got everybody's best game. We were always a target."

Both Holloway and Hartzler are still involved with basketball. Hartzler teaches at Dodge City High and is an assistant coach on the volleyball and women's basketball teams.

"It means more to me the more time that passes," Hartzler said. "To think about the work ethic our teams had to have to win those titles still amazes me."

Holloway, who has four children and a fifth on the way, just completed his first year as the boys basketball coach at Garden City High.

"Coach Unrau would always tell us we wouldn't really understand what we'd done until we were about 30," Holloway said, laughing. "And he was right. I was always so competitive then. I guess I still am. I never thought about anything but winning. I find myself, as a coach, having to kind of temper that but it's hard.

"My mom always told me I was a little different than most."