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In Coaching Battle of Father Vs. Son, Holmes Outlasts Highlands on Big Night for Bolden

It was father versus son at Holmes High School on Friday night as the Bulldogs, led by head coach Mike Listerman, withstood a tough test at home against Highlands, led by his son, head coach Kevin Listerman, 68-57.

“I know my son had them ready. I compliment him and his kids, they gave us their very best shot,” Mike Listerman said after the game.

While Highlands did give a valiant effort, they lacked the star power that senior guard James Bolden provides for the Bulldogs. Bolden was very sharp on the night, dropping 30 points on the Bluebirds in a variety of ways.  The win improved Holmes to 20-5 on the season. With the loss, the Bluebirds drop to 6-14. 

The game had a sleepy feel at the tip off with both teams looking lethargic out of the gates. The score was only 10-7 Holmes after the first quarter.

“We missed a lot of easy things and that happens when you're not quite ready to play. Hopefully we don't play like that the rest of the year, because against the teams we have left, we can't play like this,” Listerman said.

In the second quarter, though, Bolden began to heat up, knocking down a step-back jumper, slicing through the lane and using his left hand. He said his ability to score with his left hand is something he's worked on over time.

“I've been working at the lab on it and trying to get better at the next level,” Bolden said after the game.

After fellow guard Markel McClendon scored a three-pointer and made the score 19-9, Highlands looked like they were in trouble early, but Highlands guard Nick Kindle kept his team in it with four straight threes in the second quarter.

“Kendall's four three-pointers gave them a nice spark and kept them in the ball game,” Mike Listerman said.

In the third quarter, the Bluebirds tied the score at 38-38, thanks to a lot of easy baskets down low by the Highlands big men set up nicely by guards driving the lane. Highlands proved to be a good passing team on Friday night, finding open players in half court sets on a regular basis.

Once again, however, Bolden quelled the comeback attempt with a series of baskets, including a nice tip in with quarter's waning seconds. When he is in rhythm the was he was on Friday, Bolden really does look like the top recruit in the area. He finished with 30 points.

The Bluebirds fought hard midway throughout the fourth quarter, but misses and untimely turnovers did them in at the end. When Parker Harris briefly went down with an ankle injury, it took the wind out of the Highlands sails despite only being down by two with under three minutes left. From there, guard Justin Weyer missed a pair of jumpers, while Bolden made two of his own. Then Mitchell Cain was called for an offensive foul, missed the next time down the court and then Harris committed a turnover trying to throw a full-court pass. The combination of these mishaps down the stretch proved enough for Holmes to pull out their 20th win of the year.

“We won ugly, but I'm glad to get the win,” Coach Listerman said.

The will play at Boone County on Tuesday followed by a showdown against Newport Central Catholic at The Bank of Kentucky Center on Friday night.   

Story & photo by Bryan Burke, associate editor