It's still five months away from basketball season, but the Holden boys basketball team is already putting in work as it prepares for a follow-up to a surprisingly good season.

The Rockets, who will compete in District 8-B this season, are playing in a summer league at Woodlawn High School that includes Livingston Parish rivals as well as teams from neighboring parishes. A year ago, there were low expectations as Holden replaced seven seniors, but the outlook is different this year.

Rockets coach Landon DuBois didn’t mince words talking about his team last week after a game against Parkview Baptist.

“A lot of people expected us to be really bad,” DuBois said of his team, which returns all but one senior from a team that went 17-12 in the regular season to earn a first-round by as the eighth seed in the Class B playoffs.

“This group put their head down, worked hard and won the games they were supposed to. The hard work paid off. It was probably one of the better seasons the Holden boys have had in a long time.”

The Rockets will be a senior-heavy squad this season, featuring players like Jake Forbes, Steve Garcia, Eldridge Ahumada and Brody Miller. Junior post player Dalton Miller will also be in the mix.

Against Parkview Baptist, the rotations were deep and frequent as DuBois tried to evenly spread out the minutes.

“(Summer basketball) is about letting them play and getting better,” DuBois said. “Winning and losing matters, but its more about development. We’re playing a lot of guys right now because, in the winter, when we call on them they need to be ready.”

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Despite the hectic nature of the summer league games, which feature six-minute quarters, there were eight lead changes in the second half of the Parkview game.

Holden led 38-37 in the fourth quarter, but missed two free throws with five seconds left. It was just enough time for Parkview to work the ball up the court and make a game-winning 3-pointer.

Forbes led the Rockets with 12 points in the game, and, afterward, talked about where they are headed.

“Nobody expected us to do what we did last year,” he said. “We only lost one guy so we’re expecting big things this year.”

It's a sentiment shared by DuBois, but with a caveat.

“We’ve got a big group of seniors and I think they have a chance to be really special,” DuBois said. “They’ve got to do the work, but they have a chance.”

For Forbes and his fellow seniors, the work has already begun.


Charles Salzer covers Livingston sports for the Livingston-Tangipahoa Advocate. To reach Salzer, email livingston@theadvocate.com.