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Holmes 58 Oak Hills, OH 42
12/2/2012 - by Ryan Roberts
Big first half for Bolden paces Holmes

Games on Sunday afternoons aren’t the norm here in Northern Kentucky and especially in the 9th region, but on Sunday afternoon the Holmes Bulldogs took down Oak Hills 58-42 behind 18 points from Sophomore James Bolden in the first game of the Bluegrass-Buckeye Charity Classic at Thomas More in the Connor Convocation Center.

Early on, it looked like Holmes might blow the Highlanders out of the gym as they raced out to a 14-2 lead. After a Chris Englemon lay up to start the game, Bolden would score 10 of the next 12 point with two 3 pointers, a 15 foot jumper, and two free throws.

"They were sagging off me to begin with," said Bolden. "So I just shot it and it went in. I had my rhythm going and I just stuck with it."

The Holmes run prompted Oak Hills to call a timeout and calm the team down, which seemed to work as the Highlands would go on a run of their own. Oak Hills would go on an 8-2 run to close within 16-10 but a Zach Pouncy three from the corner would stop the run and move momentum back to Holmes. At the end of one quarter, Holmes led 19-12.

In the second quarter, Oak Hills made some defensive adjustments to a 2-3 zone look, which seemed to give Holmes some problems. Holmes began turning the ball over and settling for jump shots and Oak Hills continued the run as they would get within 3 at 19-16.

The success in the zone wouldn’t last long, though. After the Oak Hills run, Senior BJ Coston hit back-to-back treys to push the lead to 25-17. Quan Palmer then made a free throw and Junior Daequon Glover hit a 3 to give Holmes a 12 point lead at 29-17.

After two Oak Hills free throws, senior Quan Palmer hit a three to extend the lead to 13 at 32-19.

"I just wanted to keep everybody under control," said Palmer.

Oak Hills closed the half on a 6-0 run to make it 32-25 but a lot of that run could be attributed to Chris Englemon of Holmes sitting out the entire second quarter due to foul trouble. Despite the foul trouble, and Oak Hills making their runs, Coach Booher was pleased with how his bench stepped up.

"I’m pleased with my 5-7 guys sitting over on the bench," said Booher. "When they come in off the bench, I have all the confidence in the world that they can come in and give the same effort as the starters. We’re a deep team this season."

That depth would be on full display in the second half as Holmes amped up the defensive pressure and came out with a physical style on defense that allowed them to force turnovers and get points in transition.

"Coach told us to get back to what we were doing the first 5 minutes of the first quarter (to build a double digit lead) and keep playing good defense like we usually do."

After allowing 72% inside the arc first half, Holmes cut that down to just 50% in the second half and forced Oak Hills to take more outside shots, rather than giving them easy baskets. With Oak Hills taking more outside shots and missing, Holmes was able to get more easy baskets in the lane and force the Oak Hills' foul number to mount.

With both Chames and Englemon back in the game, the front court would take over for the Dogs in the third quarter as they would go on a 15-0 run to build a 47-27 lead behind 9 points from the trio of Englemon, Chames, and Hill.

"I started off with two fouls but felt I needed to come back in and do work," said Englemon. "I sat on the bench for a whole quarter so I had to get my blood flowing and get back in and help my team out with my defense and post game."

Englemon would finish the game with 10 points and 7 rebounds.

The rest of the game was all Holmes as they built a 21 point lead and never led by less than 15. At the end of three, Holmes led 50-32 but their free throw shooting, or lack of, kept them from pulling away and really burying the Highlanders. For the game, Holmes shot 52% from the field, 46% from 3-point range, but just 46% from the charity stripe as they finished 15-32.

"The first two games of the year we shot really well and only missed a few free throws," said Coach Booher. "I don’t know if it was a lack of concentration because of being up 20 points and kids seem to lose focus a little bit more than if it’s a tight game, but after the game I told those guys we cannot shoot like that because that’ll get you beat come district and region time."

Still, Coach Booher was happy with the overall performance of his team and the way they played throughout.

"I was really proud of our defense, not only in the full court press, but also in the halfcourt. It was really good tonight. We’re growing as a team on the offensive end. Our defense is really good right now but I’m proud of the offense as well. Hopefully we can continue to grow at that end."

Coach Booher was also pleased with the match-up his team received in this event.

"I told our coaches before we walked out, this is the perfect game for our team to play – to prepare for 9th region play - because they’re big and strong, they execute well, they’re patient on offense, they try to play half court man-to-man and play physical on you, defensively."

With the win, Holmes improves to 3-0. Their next game is a home match-up Tuesday night , December 4th, against Pendleton County. They will also play at Walton Verona Thursday December 6th and travel to Bourbon County December 8th to play Lincoln County.

Box Score:

Holmees (3-0): Bolden 6 4 18, Palmer 3 2 10, Englemon 3 4 10, Coston 2 3 8, Chames 1 2 4, Pouncy 1 0 3, Glover 1 0 3, Hill 1 0 2. Totals 18 15 58.

Oak Hills (0-2): Richmond 7 4 19, Laumann 2 0 6, Walter 2 1 5, Ruffin 2 0 4, Elliott 1 2 4, Seamann 1 0 2, Chisholm 1 0 2. Totals 16 7 42.

3 pt: Holmes 7 (Bolden 2, Palmer 2, Coston, Pouncy, Glover) Oak Hills 3 (Laumann 2, Richmond)
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