Holmes ‘D’ does in the Red Devils

March 9, 2016 FieldsColumn

Holmes' Laila Johnson drives against Russell's Camryn Ratliff. (Photo by Jim Osborn)

Holmes’ Laila Johnson drives against Russell’s Camryn Ratliff. (Photo by Jim Osborn)

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS — Holmes relied on unrelenting defense to get to the state tournament for the first time in 14 years, so it was no surprise that its defense was the difference in a 49-35 victory over Russell in the St. Elizabeth HealthCare/KHSAA Sweet Sixteen Wednesday night in BB&T Arena.

The Bulldogs earned their 10th win in a row and a date with Mercer County in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Jynea Harris, a 5-foot-6 senior guard, led Holmes with 18 points. Maurissa Brown had 10 points. Tyrah Englemon contributed 9 points and 9 rebounds.

Russell was led by Maggie Jachimczuk’s 13 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. Madison Darnell added 10 points for the Red Devils, who shot 33%.

Holmes had a 21-10 halftime lead on Russell, which had a difficult time against the Bulldogs’ swarming pressure.

The Red Devils, 16th Region champs for the first time since 1994, had a little more success in the second half and stayed within striking distance of Holmes.

But Harris put the Devils away for good by hitting a three-pointer and converting a three-point play on consecutive trips down the floor to push Holmes’ lead to 47-32 with 2 minutes left.

“We had to come out and play. We were starting to slack a little bit,” Harris said. ” So I went out and picked up the leadership and made the plays.”

Holmes Coach Tony Perkins lamented his team’s failure to convert open shots, but he didn’t complain too much.

“I thought we played a little tight,” he said. “But it’s a win; I’m glad we won.”

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