Northern Kentucky Tribune
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
HOLMES 51, ST. HENRY 37
Despite a slow first half, two-time defending 9th Region champion Holmes’ defensive tenacity proved to be the deciding factor in a 51-37 victory over St. Henry in a regional first-round game on Monday at BB&T arena.
Tickets will go on sale from 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday at Holmes High School for the Lady Bulldogs vs Conner game. The teams will play at 7 p.m.,, Friday, at Northern Kentucky University.
The Bulldogs set the tone early, attacking and forcing turnovers to take a quick 7-2 lead before St. Henry could match their aggressiveness.
St. Henry center Chisom Iloegbunan has a shot blocked from behind by Holmes forward Latavia Keith. (Photo by Bob Jackson)
The Crusaders rebounded from their tough start and cut the margin to 22-19 after being down by as many as nine points. But the Bulldogs managed to stretch the lead to 28-21 at the half.
Junior guard Kamari Graham played a significant role for Holmes in the first half. She knocked down four 3-pointers to score 12 of her game-high 14 points.
“I think we were sluggish,” Holmes coach Greg Ash said of his team’s first half. “We came out slow, our defense was a little slower than I wanted. Four quarters of press and pressure, that was the idea, run them down a little bit.”
The Bulldogs opened the second half with an 11-0 run to expand their lead to 39-21. Six of the 11 points came from senior guard Laila Johnson in a stretch that seemed to put the Crusaders away.
St. Henry managed to pull within eight points with just under four minutes remaining in the game, but Holmes used its pressure defense to pulled away once again at the end.
“We have to play pressure defense,” coach Ash said. “We have to do what got us to this point. I told them at halftime they were kind of dragging because we weren’t scoring very much. I told them, ‘You got them under 21 points, you hold them under 40 and we win this game.’ I told them we may get them to 39, but 37, I’ll take it.”
The Bulldogs, who have now won sixth straight games and eight of their last nine, will play a familiar opponent in a regional semifinal game against Conner at 7 p.m. Friday.
Holmes knocked off Conner in the regional semifinals the last two years, but the Cougars won the regular season game between the two teams last January.
“We’re not the same team (as earlier this season),” coach Ash said. “At this point though, on any given night, anything’s possible.”
HOLMES 15 13 11 12 — 51
ST. HENRY 10 11 3 13 — 37
HOLMES (20-7): Lovell 1 0 3, Johnson 4 0 10, Graham 4 2 14, Keith 0 2 2, Stowers 5 1 11, Englemon 3 5 11. Totals: 17 10 51.
St. Henry (14-15): Benson 1 3 5, Millay 1 0 2, Flanagan 3 0 7, Ives 5 0 10, Iloegbunam 4 5 13. Totals: 14 8 37
3-pointers: H — Graham 4, Johnson 2 Lovell. SH — Flanagan.
9TH REGION TOURNAMENT AT BB&T ARENA
Dixie Heights (22-9) vs. Newport Central Catholic (11-17), 7 p.m.
Ryle (25-6) vs. Holy Cross (18-12), 8:30 p.m.
Holmes (20-7) vs. Conner (23-8), 7 p.m.
Winners of Tuesday’s games, 8:30 p.m.
Championship game, 2 p.m.