By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
The Indians had very little trouble rolling past a much smaller, slower and less athletic team Wednesday in the opening round of the KHSAA Sweet 16 at Rupp Arena.
The 11th Region champions were never really challenged as they easily defeated Wayne County, 81-56.
That blowout victory set up a quarterfinal showdown with a team that should be a much more difficult match-up for Madison Central (29-5).
The Indians are set to take on Holmes (32-2) at noon today at Rupp Arena.
The winner will face either Graves County or Hopkinsville in Saturday’s semifinals (7:30 p.m.).
“They are a lot more athletic (than Wayne County). A lot more,” Central coach Allen Feldhaus said of Holmes. “Their point guard (James Bolden) is the real deal. He’s got some Division I scholarship offers already. They have two big post players. It’s a typical Holmes team as far as the kind of athletes they normally have.”
After being picked as low as fifth in some preseason 9th Region polls, Holmes has had a tremendous season. The Bulldogs won their first 25 games and have just two losses this season — once in double overtime and once by one point in the 35th District championship game.
Holmes advanced to the Sweet 16 quarterfinals with a hard-fought 65-60, victory Wednesday over Pleasure Ridge Park.
Senior forward Rashawn Coston had 23 points and Bolden added 13 points and four assists as the Bulldogs never trailed. Senior forward Chris Englemon (6-foot-3) finished with 10 points, two blocks and 18 rebounds, 13 of which were defensive.
“He brings a lot of energy,” Feldhaus said of Englemon. “He reminds me of Quan (Taylor). He’s always around the basket.”
Holmes shot just 38 percent and had more turnovers (10 to 7) then PRP, but won the battle on the boards — 39-35.
“They out-rebounded PRP and not many teams out-rebound PRP with the two big kids they have,” Feldhaus said.
Central’s eight seniors had never played in a Sweet 16 game, but certainly didn’t look intimidated Wednesday against Wayne County. The Indians got 25 points from senior point guard Dominique Hawkins, 19 points from senior guard Ken-Jah Bosley and 13 points and 15 rebounds from Taylor.
Central shot 47 percent for the game, including six-of-14 from three-point range, and had the opportunity to rest its starters in the fourth quarter.
“I don’t think they are intimidated by anybody because of who we have played throughout the year,” Feldhaus said. “I just don’t think we know much about Holmes, because we haven’t really seen them.”
Holmes and Central have not played this season and only have three common opponents — Lincoln County, Covington Catholic and Clark County. The Bulldogs lost to Covington Catholic in the district title game, while the Indians rolled to a 78-58 win over the Colonels in Richmond.
“We didn’t have too many common opponents,” Feldhaus said. “They played Covington Catholic three times and it was close about every time they played.”