Holt started slow in the first half, but finished with a flurry to seize control of the CAAC Blue on Friday night.
The Rams started overtime on a 5-0 run with five points from junior Don’Quall Jackson and Holt managed to hold on with free throws late to defeat Sexton 50-46 on the Big Reds’ home floor.
“We knew it was going to be hard coming to play at their place,” Jackson said. “We fought our best to get back in the game and luckily we were able to get the win.”
“I’m thrilled, but our guys are confident. We knew this was a game we had to win if we want to win the league and this just puts in a little better position to do that,” Holt coach Matt Essell said.
“I’ve got really, really, really tough kids.”
Holt (8-1, 4-0) scored just three points in the second quarter and trailed Sexton (5-2, 3-1) 21-12 at half.
“That was the worst first half we played all season and we were just trying to pick up the pressure on (defense) and get some baskets,” Jackson said.
“The shots weren’t falling but we found a way to pull it out anyway.”
Junior Colin Jones hit a three from the top of the key with 1:25 left in regulation to give Holt a 37-36 lead after the Rams opened the second half with a 6-0 run and slowly crawled back in the game over the course of the final two quarters.
The Holt lead bulged to three when senior Trevor Stone scooped up a loose ball under the basket after a miss and put it in to give the Rams a 39-36 lead shortly after Jones’ big basket.
Senior Jalen Hayes, who had 25 points to lead Sexton, made a tough drive through traffic for a basket to bring the Big Reds to within one and after a defensive stop and a foul on their ensuing offensive possession, sophomore guard Malik Mack went to the free-throw line to try and put Sexton ahead.
Mack made the first free-throw to tie the game but missed on the second and a Jones missed 3-pointer on the other end sent the game to an extra session.
“We had a chance to win the game. We missed a bunch of free throws,” Sexton coach Carlton Valentine said after his team went 16-for-26 at the line. “Give Matt Essell a lot of credit. They came in, they were down nine at halftime and they did the things they were supposed to do to win the game and we didn’t. … At the end of regulation we had a chance to win the game. We were on the line shooting two.”
Hayes knocked down a 3-pointer to bring Sexton to within two points with 41 seconds left in overtime, but a free throw from Jones and one later from Donte Jackson put Holt up by four points and two possessions.
Don’Quall Jackson had 12 points to lead Holt, while senior Donte Jackson finished with 11 points for the Rams as the sibling guards pulled their way out from tough starts to pace the comeback.
“Both Don’Quall and Donte were two of 17 in the first half,” Essell said.
“The second half they made it happen. They really made it happen and they don’t back down from anybody. That’s the biggest thing.”