Bulldogs Roll Over Boone Co. on Alumni Night in Front of Huggins
Holmes (20-4) proved once again to be a matchup nightmare for its opponents as the Bulldogs reached the 20-win mark for the eighth straight season when they beat Boone County, 79-51, Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs ran out to an early 21-13 first quarter lead and never looked back as they used their supreme athleticism and terrific speed to consistently beat the Rebels down court on the break.
Boone County (14-9) tried a 2-3 zone against the Bulldogs in the second quarter and essentially dared Holmes to shoot from the perimeter. Holmes responded with four different players cashing in from 3-point range during a 25-8 second-quarter run that blew the game open by halftime.
Once the zone proved ineffective, Holmes isolated their swing players, Armani Housley and Markel McClendon, along with star point guard James “Beetle” Bolden, and attacked the slower Rebel defenders by driving hard to the rim during half-court sets and picking up the pace for easy transition buckets off of defensive rebounds.
Boone County displayed plenty of beef along their front court, and at times found success with the drive and dish against the block-happy Bulldog defense, but the Rebel big men weren't skilled enough to make enough of an impact on the offensive end, and too much pressure was put on the guards to make plays on their own. It was clear from the start that Boone County was outmatched from a leaping and quickness standpoint and they needed to play a flawless game to remain competitive. That turned out not to be the case as Holmes harassed Boone County out of their comfort zone all night.
Bolden led all scorers with 16 points despite playing sparingly in the second half during blowout time, and big man Marcus Hill also contributed nicely with 12 points and maintained an imposing inside presence on defense with his shot-blocking and rebounding ability. West Virginia Head Coach (and former Cincinnati head coach) Bob Huggins attended the game, reportedly to watch Bolden play.
Cincinnati State Coach Andre Tate also attended and according to Holmes Coach Jason Booher, offered spots to Quentin Chames and Marcus Hill.
The night's excitement was capped off with back-to-back fast-break buckets for Holmes in the third quarter when Chames first threw down an alley-oop dunk and Beetle Bolden dazzled the crowd with a slick around-the-back pass for an easy lay up.
Holmes showed resilience and confidence by shedding off the one-point loss to Madison Central last Saturday and blowing out a quality Boone County team. Next up for the Bulldogs is a huge test that features another 20-win team, Newport Central Catholic (22-3), Friday, February 14 at the Bank of Kentucky Arena at Northern Kentucky University.
Written by Bryan Burke
Photos by Brian Frey