Kalan Nye did a little of everything for Howe girls basketball to win Oklahoma 2A title
It was a tremendous all-around game for Howe junior forward Kalan Nye in Saturday's Oklahoma 2A girls basketball state championship game in Oklahoma City.
Nye had a team-leading 15 points in the Lady Lions' 71-57 win against Silo. She went a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line.
"I think I had a lot to do with my team helping the ball, because they weren't going to let a lot of our other team members shoot, so I had to step up and go score when I could," said Nye, selected as the Times Record's Athlete of the Week. "And then, really, sharing the ball was a big deal for us."
Then on defense, Nye was the leading rebounder with seven. She also came up with seven steals, part of 31 turnovers forced by the Lady Lions.
"I love defense," Nye said. "Defense is probably my favorite part, so when we got into their legs and really got after them, getting those steals was a big deal. That's what we really strive ourselves off of is defense."
Nye even took a charge, a hard collision underneath Silo's goal with the Lady Rebels' 6-foot sophomore forward, Tiani Ellison, with more than three minutes remaining. It was a play that, for all intents and purposes, wrapped up the Lady Lions' latest state title, the second in three seasons and the fourth under coach Chris Brown.
"That (charge) was my favorite part of the whole thing, actually," Nye said. "Coach Brown had been arguing over me not taking charges and I took that one, which was like my second charge I've ever taken, ever.
"(Ellison) does that little spin-back move quite a bit, and I knew that she was kind of out of control when she did it, so I just closed my eyes and planted my feet. Then it just took me out; I really didn't even have to fall, it hurt pretty bad. ... But it really didn't hurt in the moment because I was so excited and that's when I knew we were going to win."
Nye added that Howe's 2A semifinal win the day before, against Latta, might have been just as special.
"I think beating Latta was a really big deal; a lot of people were hyping up Latta, they felt like they were kind of the favorite and not a lot of people thought we were going to beat them," Nye said. "So once we beat Latta, we were like, 'Oh my gosh, we've got Silo, we can totally win this.' Then just winning two years, that was awesome."
Kalan's sister, Karsyn, is a freshman forward for the Lady Lions.
Nye is the daughter of former Cameron, Arkansas Fort-Smith and Arkansas baseball standout Richie Nye, and her uncle is Ryan Nye, who played baseball at Cameron, Arkansas Fort-Smith and Texas Tech before making the major leagues as a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies.