HOLDEN — Holden’s 64-34 victory over Fairview was significant for girls basketball.
There was more to the rematch between Class B powers than a resounding nondistrict victory for the Rockets on Saturday at Holden.
“I credit them,” Fairview coach Kyle Jinks said of Holden. “They play hard the entire time and it’s hard to play against somebody like that if you haven’t got the experience or the speed. To me, they’re the favorite in Class B.”
Holden raced out to a 23-5 first-quarter lead and also scored 20 third-quarter points. The win provided a measure of satisfaction for the Livingston Parish-based Rockets, who lost to the Panthers 73-62 in the quarterfinals at home a year ago.
“We were ready for this … We prepared all week,” Holden post player Sydney Hayden said. “I still remember last year (quarterfinals). I fouled out and felt like I let my team down. (Saturday night) it was about the team. We had a bunch of people play well.”
Hayden scored a game-high 22 points and had nine rebounds for Holden (15-5). KK Kropog added 18. Maggie Manuel led Fairview (25-7) with 12 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
The Panthers played without two starters, including all-stater Callie Maddox, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in recent weeks.
Maddox was averaging more than 30 points a game and played when Fairview defeated Holden by 40 in a tournament earlier this season.
“I thought we played well, especially in the first quarter,” Holden coach Forbes said. “We came out with a lot of energy, which is what we wanted. The key was maintaining that. It was tough for them because they were playing some younger girls.”
Holden raced ahead early, making 73 percent of its first-quarter shots. Kropog had eight first-quarter points. The Rockets led 8-0. It took Fairview 4:05 to get its first field goal. The Panthers finished 2-for-9 from the field and had eight first-quarter turnovers in the opening period.
A 23-5 first-quarter lead gave Holden a solid cushion in a more balanced second quarter. The Rockets cooled off from their hot start, making just 5 of 14 second-quarter shots. Manuel had seven of Fairview’s 14 first-half points.
Holden outscored the Panthers 20-15 in the third quarter. Fairview got within 19 points during that span but could get no closer.
Forbes smiled when told Jinks called her team the Class B favorite. She quickly pointed out that Holden has lost twice to Lacassine, the defending Class B champion that followed Fairview string of eight straight titles.
“There are a lot of good teams in Class B that we’ve played and some we haven’t, like Midland,” Forbes said. “I think we’ve got depth and the potential to be very good.
“We’ve played great competition in Class B and here at home but there are no guarantees.
“You have to play hard every night.”