By Ethan Merrill
Holt Journal staff writer
HOLT, Mich. — The Holt Rams boys basketball team experienced a medley of emotions Tuesday night. Lansing Everett guard Devon Hudson hit the game-winning layup as time expired, negating the Rams’ furious 28-point comeback in the second half. The final score was 75-73.
A flurry of 3-pointers down the stretch for Holt was completed by Colin Jones’ shot from behind the arc with 30 seconds remaining in the game. The 6’3’’ senior led all scorers on the night, pouring in 28 points for the home team. Seventeen of those came in the fourth quarter.
For Everett, the scoring was more dispersed. Junior guards Deshae Doll and Devon Hudson, contributed 19 points each. Hudson’s identical twin Dequan scored 18.
The Rams (10-3) struggled early, and found themselves in an unfamiliar hole to the visiting Vikings (3-7). Everett led 43-15 in the second quarter, their largest lead of the night. Holt’s sloppy first-half play rendered the home crowd mute at many points, which allowed the Vikings’ crowd to supply the noise in the gymnasium.
“Missed free throws and turnovers were the main reason we were down so much at halftime,” said Rams assistant coach Russ Olcheske. “That was what we talked about fixing (in the locker room).”
The Rams immediately came charging back after halftime. The team with four senior starters began to display their experience, cutting the deficit to 15 about midway through the third quarter. This brought life back into the bench and the fans. However, the Vikings still managed to maintain a 21-point lead at the end of the third quarter.
Jones 3-pointer brought the Rams within 13 after a sluggish start to the fourth quarter, and again there was hope. The momentum was beginning to swing, and an increasingly confident Holt team cut the Vikings lead to 10 with 3:20 left. Lansing Everett head coach Desmond Ferguson was visibly upset on the sideline, calling two timeouts down the stretch to calm his team down.
Both teams scratched and clawed down the stretch, as the Everett lead was never surrendered – nor larger than three points. Two missed free throws for the Vikings with 49 seconds left proved vital for the completion of the Rams comeback. Jones final 3-ball promptly tied the game, and gave Everett the ball back with 30 seconds left.
The Vikings did not hold the ball for long, turning it over to Holt and again firing up most of the building. Senior guard Don’Quall Jackson hurriedly brought the ball up for the Rams with 12 seconds remaining, and drove to the left side of the key. The contact he drew on his layup attempt was ignored, his shot attempt was blocked, and the Vikings’ senior forward Xavier Couthen reclaimed the ball with 5 seconds left.
His timely outlet pass to Devon Hudson on the right side of the court would prove be to the dagger in the Rams’ heart. Hudson found no Holt defender on his path to the rim, dropping the ball into the basketball with ease as time expired.
Still, the Rams can take solace in such a large comeback. Their much-improved second-half play was instrumental to the dramatic flair this game provided on a cold February night.
“The biggest difference in the second half, for us, was playing with the sort of intensity we have been all year,” said Olcheske. “We played much harder, and that’s why we were in the position we were at the end.”
Holt remains in second place in the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue, with five games on the regular season schedule. They host East Lansing High School on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Lansing Everett will travel to Lansing Eastern on Friday, also scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.