It never led until the fourth quarter, but Okemos didn’t give the lead back while surging to a 43-33 CAAC Blue win over Holt on Friday.
Senior Kaylee Gonzales’ 3-pointer put the Chiefs ahead 30-28 with 7:20 remaining, and Okemos outscored the Rams 16-5 in the final period.
“They’ve got some very good guards,” Okemos coach Tyler Hursey said. “But we thought if we pressured them a little bit more, maybe we could change the tempo of the game a little bit.”
Except for a 3-pointer by junior Elle Nichols, the Chiefs got the rest of their fourth-quarter points on 10 (of 14) free throws.
“We committed too many turnovers to win any basketball game,” Holt coach Doug Harkema said. “We played good enough defense to win, but they’re a little stronger than us. They pushed us around the court tonight. They won every loose ball, every battle for the in-between rebounds, scrum and 50-50 ball.”
Senior Kourtney Scott scored 15 points to lead Okemos (11-7, 9-3), and Nichols hit a 3-pointer in every quarter for 12.
“(Elle) has a short memory. When she misses, the next one’s going down,” Hursey said. “With a shooter, that’s the mentality you have to have. Erica Tooker does a lot of little things. She has taken more charges in the last four games for us than we’ve taken the rest of the season combined. Her leadership is great out there. Kristell (Yewah) handles the ball well, and Kourtney Scott hit some big shots tonight.”
Yewah hit a basket and a free throw, and Nichols her first 3-pointer to trim an early 10-1 Holt lead to 10-7 after one quarter.
“We couldn’t hit a shot early on,” Hursey said. “But we’ve been a team all year that, when we want to generate shots, we do it out of our defense. We got some steals and easy buckets.”
The Rams extended their lead to eight points in both the second and third quarters, but Okemos narrowed the gap to 18-16 at halftime and 28-27 after three quarters.
Freshman Kamrin Reed scored 14 points to lead Holt (12-6, 7-5). Junior Emma Sluiter added nine points, and sophomore Tara Lierman contributed eight points.
Okemos is 6-2 since a 5-5 start.
“We had a very difficult non-conference schedule,” Hursey said. “We lost some games, but we kept a good attitide the whole time. I think that comes from our senior leaders, and now that’s paying off at this point.”