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Holmes Heads to State Tournament, Beats Cov Cath 62-60

A Holmes free throw with 2.1 seconds remaining in the Ninth Region championship match-up with Covington Catholic put the Bulldogs up 62-60.

2.1 seconds remained on the clock.

It was just nine days ago, in the 35th District title game between the same two teams, the same amount of time shown on the clock and a half-court heave by Nick Ruthsatz gave the game and the trophy to the Colonels, 73-72.

A half court heave would end Sunday's regional final as well, but the desperation shot wasn't even close and the Bulldogs are headed to Lexington and Rupp Arena for the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Sweet Sixteen.

"It's what dreams are made of," Holmes head coach Jason Booher told WXIX's Joe Danneman after the game. "Something we'll remember for the rest of our lives."

Booher led Shelby Valley High School to the state title in 2010 before departing for the job at Holmes, which won the title in 2009.

Three-quarters through the first half of the game the Colonels looked to be on their way to Lexington jumping out to a 29-17 but a Holmes run narrowed the Cov Cath lead to 35-31 at the break.

Holmes took control in the third quarter leading by as many as nine but the Colonels wouldn't go away and with Holmes up 53-48 and more than five minutes left, Cov Cath was well within striking distance.

Holmes forward Chris Englemon fouled out with four and a half minutes left and the Colonels climbed back to within 53-52. Then Holmes start sophomore point guard James Bolden fouled out with just under three minutes to play.

A Cov Cath three with 24 seconds left saw Holmes up 61-60.

The Colonels would get no closer, despite getting possession back and two good looks at a tying basket.

Bolden led all scorers with 24 points including three-for-seven from 3-point range. He was named the tournament MVP.

Xavier University head coach Chris Mack, who is recruiting Bolden, was one of approximately 6,500 people in the stands at the Bank of Kentucky Center at Northern Kentucky University for Sunday night's final.

Four Holmes players scored in double figures: senior guard Daquan Palmer (11), senior Rashawn Coston (10), and junior forward Quinton Chames (10).

Junior guard Nick Ruthsatz led the Colonels with 19 points.

Holmes improves to 31-2 and Covington Catholic ends their season at 27-7.

The Bulldogs face Sixth Region champs Pleasure Ridge Park of Louisville on Wednesday at 1:30 at Rupp Arena.

Holmes was the final ticket punched to the 2013 Kentucky Sweet Sixteen.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

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The state tournament bracket:

-Wayne Co. (27-7/Twelfth Region) vs. Madison Central (28-5/Eleventh Region)

-Covington Holmes (31-2/Ninth Region) vs. Louisville Pleasure Ridge Park (25-7/Sixth Region)

-Graves Co. (25-8/First Region) vs. Ohio Co. (25-7/Third Region)

-Hopkinsville (31-4/Second Region) vs. South Oldham (24-7/Eighth Region)

-Warren Central (27-6/Fourth Region) vs. Montgomery Co. (31-4/Tenth Region)

Fleming Co. (28-6/Sixteenth Region) vs. John Hardin (28-3/Fifth Region)

Johnson Central (22-10/Fifteenth Region) vs. Louisville Ballard (29-4/Seventh Region)

Knott Co. Central (29-5/Fourteenth Region) vs. Clay Co. (26-6/Thirteenth Region)

See the brack with dates/times: Click Here (PDF)

Photo: Holmes Bulldogs pose for photo after winning Ninth Region title Sunday night at the Bank of Kentucky Center at Northern Kentucky University/RCN