Andrew Holmes isn’t the tallest player in Shaker’s lineup, but he was the biggest player on the court.
The junior guard scored 14 of his team-high 16 points in the second half to lift the Blue Bison (9-2 league, 11-2 overall) to a 57-53 victory over Bethlehem in last Friday’s Suburban Council boys basketball game in Latham.
“This was a must win,” said Holmes, the 6-foot, 2-inch son of Shaker coach Jeff Holmes. “If we lost this, we’d be in a lot of trouble. But I had confidence we would win.”
Holmes led Shaker’s rally from a 32-28 halftime deficit. He hit a three-pointer and drove the baseline for a layup to help the Blue Bison gain their first lead of the game late in the third quarter. Then with the game on the line, Holmes made five out of six free throws in the final four minutes to give Shaker the victory.
“At halftime, my teammates said to keep shooting because they were struggling,” said Holmes. “My teammates did a great job of giving me the ball when I was hot.”
“He started to take the ball to the basket strong, which helped us,” said coach Holmes.
Meanwhile, Bethlehem (9-2, 11-2) spent much of the night shooting three-pointers. Junior guard Connor Morelli drained four of his five threes in the first half to help the Eagles gain an early edge, and senior guard Nate Kane added four clutch threes throughout the game.
The problem was, Bethlehem couldn’t get its forwards engaged in the offense due to Shaker’s defensive combination of senior center David Morrison and forwards Chris Landers and Malik Dare. Senior forward Myles Bergere and sophomore forward John Sica combined for 12 points, most of which came in the second half. Sica’s four points was his lowest total of the season.