Holton Boys Defeat Kent City in CSAA Defensive Showdown

Friday night was a hotly contested battle between the visiting Red Devils of Holton High School and the hosting Eagles of Kent City. While the teams split contests last year, with the Eagles walloping the Red Devils in the first matchup and losing a closer contest a month later, both teams have largely retooled in the past year.

The Eagles graduated several key seniors in 2020, including leading scorer and current Grace University Tiger, Eli Carlson. Holton, for their part, brought a deep class of juniors and a new cast of underclassmen to pair with seniors Aidan Poling and Joseph McLean.

While both teams showed elements of inexperience with younger rosters than in some years past, the defensive grit showed by both teams was evident from the jump (figuratively in 2021). Despite early pressure defense from the Eagles, the Red Devils were able to capitalize on elongated ball movement against the zone pressure applied by Kent City and found open shooters for triples.

The Eagles soon found their footing and answered on a run of their own behind the shooting of senior Casen Armstrong and junior Hayden Carlson, which managed to see them holding a narrow 9-8 lead after the first quarter. Holton began to figure things out again offensively and pushed their way to a halftime score of 18-14 over the home team.

Both teams came out of the halftime break with a plan to put points on the board and wear down each other’s extensive defensive pressure. Despite each team pouring in more points in the second half, the Eagles proved unable to narrow the halftime deficit and closed the game with a 4-point 42-38 loss in CSAA play. The Eagles were led by 20 points from Hayden Carlson and 11 points from sophomore Kyler Larson.

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