By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter
When his team fell behind in the first quarter, Holmes girls’ basketball coach Tony Perkins realized he made a mistake coming out in a zone defense against Henderson County in a quarterfinal game of the St. Elizabeth Healthcare/KHSAA state tournament on Friday at BB&T Arena.
Holmes guard Kamari Graham launches a jump shot during her team’s state tournament game against Henderson County.
“I was kind of being conservative, which is my fault,” Perkins said. “That’s not normally what we do. We normally come out and play man-to-man and get after people. Bad coaching decision on my part.”
The Bulldogs bailed out their coach by outscoring Henderson County in the final three quarters to come away with a 58-48 victory and advance to the state semifinals for for the first time since 2002. Holmes will be play Franklin County at 8 p.m. Saturday with the winner going to the state championship game at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Holmes junior forward Tyra Englemon led her team’s comeback in Friday’s game by doing all of the scoring during a 12-6 run in the third and fourth quarters that gave the Bulldogs a 42-36 lead. After Henderson County pulled to within two points, 45-43, Holmes responded with a 6-0 run and then scored five of its last seven points at the foul line.
In the second half, Holmes shot 60 percent (9 of 15) from the field while holding Henderson County to 23.8 percent (5 of 21). The Colonels also had eight turnovers in the final two quarters.
“I thought the second half we really guarded them and made it hard for them to get shots,” Perkins said. “Our kids listened and we made some adjustments on how to do things.”
Henderson County coach Jeff Haile said his team had a hard time dealing with the Bulldogs’ speed and quickness on defense, especially in the second half.
“When you play a lot of speed like that in all five positions it’s hard to get into (your offense),” he said. “They were shooting gaps on us and jumping screens. You got to give them credit.”
Englemon finished with 27 points, connecting on 10 of her 11 field goal attempts in the paint. In the second half, she got 15 points by going 4-for-4 from the field and 7-for-10 from the line.
“I just had to step up for my team,” Englemon said. “We were down (at halftime) so I had to step up and make plays.”
Englemon also had eight rebounds, two assists and two steals during the game. The stat line for Holmes senior guard Jaynice Stovall included 17 points, three rebounds, two assists and four steals.
After the win, Perkins said he and his staff had a “long night ahead” preparing a game plan for Franklin County in the state semifinals on Saturday.
“For this team to be 29-5 and in the final four of state is an amazing feat for them because we’re not very deep,” Perkins said. “I once had a coach ask me how you get them all to play 36 minutes. I said, ‘Well, if you don’t take them out they don’t have much choice.'”
HOLMES 14 11 14 19 — 58
HENDERSON CO. 21 9 6 12 — 48
HOLMES (29-5): Johnson 1 4 6, Graham 1 0 3, Keith 0 2 2, Englemon 10 7 27, Stovall 6 5 17, Beckett 1 0 3. Totals: 19 18 58.
HENDERSON COUNTY (28-6): Carter 2 0 5, Dickson 4 0 8, Lander 8 0 18, Daniel 0 1 1, Chester 0 5 5, Hope 4 0 11. Totals: 18 6 48.
Three-pointers: H — Graham, Beckett. HC — Hope 3, Lander 2, Carter.
ST. ELIZABETH HEALTHCARE/KHSAA GIRLS STATE TOURNAMENT
(at BB&T Arena, Highland Heights)
Murray vs. Mercer County, 6:30 p.m
Holmes vs. Franklin County, 8 p.m.
Championship game, 2 p.m.