District semifinal Highlights: Holt wins an overtime thriller, Ionia hangs on by the skin of its teeth


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – As district play keeps on keeping on for high school basketball team across the state of Michigan, the level of competition keeps getting crazier.

Lansing Catholic and Ionia met in the Div. II District Semifinals for the rubber match this season. Lansing Catholic took the first meeting, on Feb. 12, 2021, 80-59. Ionia proceeded to take the second meeting, on March 2, 2021, 62-59.

In the third meeting, it was Ionia that struck quickly and often.

Senior Kyle Griffith knocked down four 3-pointers in the first half, helping the Bulldogs take a 24-16 lead into halftime.

Ionia grew the led to as much as 15 in the second half, but a 6-0 run by Lansing Catholic at the end of the third quarter gave the Cougars momentum, and cut the Bulldogs lead to 42-33.

In the fourth quarter the party started to turn-up, thanks to Lansing Catholic’s DJ Ferguson.

Ferguson scored a game-high 26 points, with 22 coming in the second half, helping the Cougars cut the Ionia lead to two with 1:25 remaining.

The Bulldogs hit key shots down the stretch to hold-off the Cougars, 61-60, and advance to the district title game on Saturday.

“Lansing Catholic knows us, we know them. We’ve had a lot of battles with them over the last four seasons and we just feel fortunate to come out on top. It was a great game. I knew they weren’t going to go away,” Ionia coach, Scott Swinehart said.

“We were able to make a couple tough shots down the stretch. We didn’t care of the ball very well so we got to work on that a lot,” Griffith said after scoring a team-high 20 points.

In the Div. I District Semifinals, Okemos welcomed in Holt for a rematch from seven days ago, Holt took that meeting 59-52, which had the Chiefs out for revenge. Okemos took a 15-point lead into halftime and held a 17-point lead at one point.

Then the Rams started to make it rain in the second half. Jayden Stone connected on a three pointer, giving Holt a two-point lead in the fourth quarter.

Okemos had a chance to win it in regulation, but Holt’s Malachi Davis blocked the potential game-winner to send things to overtime.

Which is when Jacob Howard called game.

The senior forward connected on a fade away jumper in the final seconds to secure a 51-49 win for Holt.

“That’s a shot that I’ve practiced with my dad, probably, a thousand times. So I was just like it’s just another shot, try to block out all the noise and just remember all the hard work that we’ve put in to get to this spot,” Howard said after the game.

“When he put it up, I honestly knew it was in,” Holt coach, Ben Curtis said. “That kid has practiced that so many times, that little fade away in the post. That’s why we ran it and he executed it to perfection.”

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