CENTERVIEW — No. 8 seed Holden gave No. 1 seed Crest Ridge a scare in the opening round of the Quarry City Classic, but the Cougars had enough fire power to prevail over the Eagles 69-57 on Tuesday, Jan. 28.
“I knew it was going to be a tough game, they had been playing pretty well the last couple of games they had,” Crest Ridge coach Brent Behler said.
The Eagles matched the Cougars in the opening eight minutes, staying within four, 15-11, by the end of the first quarter.
Crest Ridge led by as many as eight in the second frame, but Holden managed to answer every bucket by the Cougars.
Holden’s Jackson Tevis knocked down a 3-pointer with under a minute to go in the half to draw the Eagles within three, 32-29, by the halftime horn. He finished the game with six made 3-pointers and a team-high 24 points.
Crest Ridge regrouped at the intermission, focusing on improving its press.
“We didn’t rotate well in the first half when we were running our press, we didn’t pinch the middle and then in the second half we started to do that a little bit more,” Behler said.
The Cougars pressure led to a handful of Eagle turnovers, allowing Crest Ridge to outscore Holden 20-7 in the period.
“They did that in the first half and we handled it fine, I think it was just us losing our heads,” Holden coach Nathan Martin said. “Live-ball turnovers were the big thing, that’s what we told the guys after the game. No turnover is good, but if it goes out of bounds then we get to set up, if it’s a live-ball one, they get a layup.”
Jax Brandes, who finished with 21 points, capped off the quarter with a three-point play, making a layup off a steal and the following free throw to push the Cougars lead to 52-36 going into the final frame.
Cole Schmidli scored 16 points for Crest Ridge. August Hoeper also joined Schmidli and Brandes in double figures with 18.
Jayden Brown chipped in 15 points for Holden.
Crest Ridge advances to the semifinals with the win and will face Concordia at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30.
The Cougars are the defending champions of the Quarry City Classic and are out to repeat last year’s feat.
“It’s important when you are on your home floor and even more important because it is your tournament and we are defending (champions),” Behler said. “Hopefully, we can put on a good show for the fans and end up on the right side of it.”
Holden will face Sherwood in the consolation semifinals at 9 p.m., also on Thursday.