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High School Basketball / State Championship | THE HIGH
SCHOOLS / STEVE HENSON

Only Drama Missing From Last Twin Tale

March 23, 1997|STEVE HENSON

ANAHEIM — Jason and Jarron Collins signed off with the same symmetry and style that marked every step of their four-year careers at Harvard-Westlake High.

Each made 11 field goals, two free throws and a slew of new admirers Saturday at the Pond in leading the Wolverines to their second consecutive state Division III championship.

The journey ended so smoothly, so predictably, so utterly void of suspense.

Over hill. Over dale. Over Hillsdale, 80-50, with the ease of an 18-wheeler rolling over a speed bump.

Hillsdale, unbeaten before becoming props in the Collins' encore performance, is located in San Mateo, a 20-minute drive from Stanford, where Jason and Jarron will play next season. Rooting for the twins will be the same guys whose dreams of a championship were dashed in double time.

"I wish them the best of luck because they were so nice," Hillsdale guard Fred Peccorini said. "They didn't say much. That's how you get respect, by showing it on the floor."

Show it they did. Watching the Collinses was like listening to an old Lawrence Welk tune. There was rhythm, there was grace, but any real drama was sorely lacking.

A one, and a two . . .

* Jason makes a two-foot bank for the game's first points. Jarron's slam dunk makes it 4-0 a few seconds later.

* Jarron scores 10 points in a row and Harvard-Westlake leads after one quarter, 29-12, with the twins scoring 19.

* The 6-foot-9 Jarron pressures on Hillsdale's inbounds passes, and on the occasions the Knights get the ball upcourt, 6-10 Jason is waiting in the paint, daring anyone to penetrate. Hillsdale throws up about a dozen airballs simply because the shooters see a Collins or two and get weak knees.

* A laser-like outlet pass from Jason to Jarron results in a soft, reverse dunk by Jarron midway through the second quarter. Three minutes later, Jarron passes crisply from the baseline to Jason, who crashes the lane for a dunk of his own, making the score, 44-22, with a minute left in the half.

These aren't monster slams. Both twins dunk as if they are laying a baby down in a crib, confidently but softly, making sure not to miss.

* Jason sprains an ankle late in the third quarter, and Jarron simply steps inside and simulates Jason, blocking a shot with vigor and rebounding expertly until his brother returns with 30 seconds left in the quarter and the Wolverines leading, 60-36.

* Jason exits to an appreciative ovation with 3:40 to play, his last basket a dunk off a dribble-drive. He finishes with 24 points and 17 rebounds, giving him 1,500 rebounds in his four-year career, a Southern Section record.

* Jarron exits with 2:18 to play, his last basket a short bank shot that makes the score 74-41. He finishes with 24 points and eight rebounds.

* The final buzzer sounds and Jarron joins a mob of teammates who collapse at midcourt. Jason is the last one on the pile, and he lands with all the force of a pillow, making sure not to squash anyone.

They are gentle, intellectual giants. They chose to attend the most prestigious, most academically demanding school in the West. They have benefited, and so has their school.

"I can't begin to explain the impact Jarron and Jason have had," Wolverine Coach Greg Hilliard said. "They not only raised the level of basketball at our school, but they handled themselves so well in doing so."

Jarron loves astronomy, and he knows all about shooting for the stars.

"We're looking forward to Stanford," he said. "Harvard-Westlake gave us a strong foundation. Our next step is exciting."

Jason loves history, and he knows his experience at Harvard-Westlake will shape his future.

"This school gave us the opportunity to meet great friends and be part of a great team with an excellent coach," he said. "It prepared us for later. We gained fundamentals in our game, and also ones to live by."

Like all parents of twins, Paul and Portia Collins tired of hearing, "You must have your hands full," when their sons were little, assuming they ever were little.

Turns out every opponent for four years had its hands full: The Wolverines were 119-9 and won three Southern Section and two state championships with Jason and Jarron in the lineup.

"We're elated but it is very sad," Hilliard said.

For Jarron and Jason Collins, it might only be the beginning.

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