Saturday, March 11, 2000

Holmes ends Highlands' streak

Huff scores 19 in Bulldogs' 60-45 victory

Enquirer contributor

        UNION, Ky. — Highlands' three-year reign as basketball champion of the Ninth Region ended Friday night quicker than a wink.

        Alphonso Huff, the shortest man on the court at 5-feet-7, led Holmes High School to a 60-45 victory over the Bluebirds at the Ryle High Gym.

        Holmes will meet Newport Central Catholic 7:30p.m. today for the regional title and a berth in the Kentucky Sweet Sixteen.

        Huff scored a game-high 19 points and had four assists. More importantly, he controlled the tempo of the game.

        Huff made a major statement late in the second quarter after milking the clock while running a strategic two-minute stall.

        He waited until just the right moment, then fell backward and launched a three-point shot that broke a 23-23 tie.

        Highlands managed to lead only briefly after that. Huff put Holmes ahead to stay when he drove the lane for a layup at 4:44 of the third period. Highlands was never closer than seven in the fourth quarter. “As long as we've got Al Huff, we can pretty much control it,” said Holmes coach Dave Henley.

        “He's awfully good,” Highlands coach John Messmer said. “He's the quickest guard in our region. He can not only hit the three-point shot, he can take it to the basket. There aren't many people who can contain his quickness.”

        Holmes scored 18 points off Highlands turnovers. “They were able to do that because of their quickness and athletic ability,” Messmer said. “To beat them, we would've had to minimize our turnovers and be a little more patient.”

        The Bluebirds, who lost all five starters from last year's champions, finished with a 21-8 record.

        Not bad, Messmer figured.

        “We battled to get here,” he said. “We made a pretty good run at it. We got tripped by a pretty good Holmes team. It's something to build on.”

        Messmer will have to replace three senior starters next year: his son John, guard Matt Barone and center Matt Muehlenkamp. Messmer led the Bluebirds in scoring with 15 points and junior Gino Gkuidugli added 14.

        Holmes, which got 12 points each from seniors Deshaun Jackson and Jerry Weaver, won its 11th straight game.

        Holmes lost its only matchup with Newport Central Catholic.

        HOLMES (60) — R. Huff 0 0-0 0, A. Huff 7 2-4 19, B. Smith 0 0-0, Hallman 3- 1-1 8, Englemon 0 0-0 0, Weaver 3 5-6 12, Hill 0 0-0 0, D. Jackson 6 0-0 12, Mitchell 0 0-0 0, J. Jackson 4 1-2 9, Larry 0 0-0 0, White 0 0-0 0, D. Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 9-13 60.

        HIGHLANDS (45) — Barone 2 0-0 5, Messmer 6 1-1 15, Muehlenkamp 3 1-2 7, Guidugli 5 1-1 14, Rider 0 0-0 0, Forbes 1 0-0 2, Liggett 0 0-2 0, Miller 0 0-0 0, Moeves 0 0-0 0, Walker 0 0-0 0, Neltner 1 0-0 2, Klingenberg 0 0-0 0, Gross 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 3-7 45.

        Holmes ....... 12  14  17  17—60

        Highlands ....... 11  12  12  10—45

        3-point goals: Holmes—A. Huff 3, Hallman 1, Weaver 1; Highlands—Guidugli 3, Messmer 2, Barone 1.


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