Wednesday, February 09, 2000

Holmes rallies to beat CovCath

Bulldogs erase 11-point deficit, win in OT

Enquirer contributor

        The Holmes Bulldogs have faced so much internal strife this season that an 11-point third-quarter deficit to The Enquirer's No.2-ranked boys basketball team seemed like nothing.

        Which is what the Bulldogs eventually made it. Holmes trailed Covington Catholic 42-31 with 2:28 left in the third quarter before storming back to force overtime, in which the Bulldogs prevailed 63-61 at Holmes Tuesday night.

        “We thought it was going to be pretty close,” said senior guard Marco Hallman, who hit three consecutive 3-point shots from the same spot on the left wing to lead the Holmes comeback. “We knew all along that we were going to pull it out.”

        With 16.7 seconds left in overtime and the score tied 61-61, Holmes center Deshaun Jackson knocked a CovCath sideline inbounds pass to point guard Al Huff. Huff immediately flipped it back to a streaking Jackson for a wide-open, game-winning layup.

        “What I told (the Colonels) after the game was you can't let up,” CovCath coach Dan Tieman said. “We made some choices that hurt us against their quickness, both at the end of the game and in the overtime.

        “What you try to do is make sure that you look and evaluate. We did a pretty good job of that for most of the game, except at crunch time, we didn't evaluate.”

        The Colonels (15-5) brought a five-game winning streak into the game, and senior guard Steve Purdon seemed intent on extending it. He hit his first five shots of the game, all 15-foot jumpers or longer, and scored 18 first-half points on 8-of-13 shooting to lead CovCath to a 32-24 halftime lead.

        Purdon led all scorers with 24 points and tied teammate Chad Wachs with a game-high 11 rebounds.

        Jackson, who led Holmes with 19 points — 15 in the second half — turned up his defensive intensity in the second half and limited Purdon to 2-of-8 from the field.

        “I think we weren't getting him looks,” Tieman said. “I don't know if you can have two halves like his first half anyway.”

        Purdon's teammates picked up the slack briefly, but Hallman's shooting turned the momentum in Holmes' favor.

        “People say I'm better from the right side, but when I'm hitting, I'm hitting,” said Hallman, who finished with 18 points.

        “He's a very good shooter, always has been,” Holmes coach David Henley said.

        Hallman also was among the corps of seniors who helped Holmes weather some early-season adversity, which Henley diplomatically termed “roster turnover.” The Bulldogs lost five of their top six players from last year's 22-5 team.

        “We had a lot of people quit,” Hallman said. “It was frustrating, I guess. But we have four starters who've been here since our freshman year.”

        “I was looking at our schedule calendar the other day, and there are six kids in our team picture who are no longer with us,” Henley said. “Plus we had three of our starters playing football, and they played two tournament games. We had a lot of turmoil for awhile. It seemed like, in December, there was something every day. But the kids stayed with us.”

        The Bulldogs (12-8), ranked No.5 in The Enquirer poll, have won nine of their last 11 games and perhaps sent a message to opponents in the upcoming district and Ninth Region tournaments. The regional tournament will be played at Holmes.

        COVINGTON CATHOLIC (61) — McQuade 2 3 9, Finke 2 5 9, Dietz 4 0 9, Purdon 10 1 24, Wachs 3 2 8, Middendorf 1 0 2. Totals: 22 11 61.

        HOLMES (63) — Huff 4 0 8, Hallman 7 0 18, Weaver 6 0 12, D. Jackson 9 1 19, J. Jackson 3 0 6. Totals: 29 1 63.

        Covington Catholic ....... 19  13  10  13 ....... 6—61

        Holmes ....... 14  10  13  18 ....... 8—63

        3-pointers: C—Purdon 3, McQuade 2, Dietz. H—Hallman 4. Records: C 15-5, H 12-8.


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