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Holton outlasts Shelby in 2-OT thriller for first girls district basketball title since 2015

Red Devils edge host Tigers, 41-39, and will advance to face NorthPointe Christian in regional Monday.

Holton seniors Ryann Robins and Abbie Fowler have had plenty of success on the softball field, but they wanted to leave their mark on the basketball court.

With the help of their teammates and coaches along with strong community support, mission accomplished.

Holton won a 41-39 double-overtime thriller over host Shelby Friday night in a Division 3 girls district basketball final. It’s the first girls district basketball championship for the Red Devils since 2015 and only the second in program history.

Holton (15-9) advances to Monday’s 7 p.m. regional semifinal at Grand Rapids Covenant Christian, where the Red Devils will take on Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian (20-4). NorthPointe Christian defeated host Kent City, 44-36, in a district final Friday night.

Shelby closes the season with an 8-17 record.

“First, I want to give Shelby a ton of credit. Those girls played hard and it was a back-and-forth game all night. That team is way better than their record,” Holton coach BJ Jordan said.

“So if you believe in omens, then we had a chance tonight. We only (had) one district title in school history and that was nine years ago at Shelby, where we played Hesperia on Wednesday and Shelby at Shelby. This week, nine years later, it was the same layout: Hesperia on Wednesday and Shelby at Shelby. So it was all lined up for us.”

Holton assistant coach Jayson Robins, father of the Red Devils’ senior standout, was head coach for the team in the 2015 season.

In this photo collage, Holton father Jayson Robins and daughter Ryann Robins are shown on the left in the 2015 season when Jayson was the Red Devils’ head coach and in 2024 with Jayson as an assistant. (Courtesy of the Robins family)

In the current season, Holton beat Shelby twice in West Michigan Conference Rivers Division action (55-42 and 32-26).

On Friday, the first quarter was a defensive struggle as Holton took the early 6-3 lead. Nothing came easy.

The second quarter was more of the same and resulted with the Red Devils taking a 13-10 edge over the Tigers into the locker room.

Shelby took control in the third when it outscored Holton 13-4 and held a 23-17 lead entering the fourth.

“Our girls stayed composed and battled back,” Jordan said. “Layla Cannady had a huge five points and a clutch 3 in the quarter. We were able to slowly chip away and close it out to a tie and send the game into OT.”

Each team managed only three points in the first overtime. Junior Lexi Bartolameolli’s contest of a fast-break layup by Shelby in the closing seconds forced a miss and proved to be a key moment.

In the second overtime, junior Kenzie Greene hit a 3-pointer to start it off and Holton built a six-point lead with 50 seconds left.

“I thought we finally had it in the bag, but Shelby would just not go away,” Jordan said. “Molly Schultz hit a deep 3 and got another two to trim a six-point lead down to one very quickly.

“We had the ball and got fouled. Abbie Fowler hit one of two free throws and we were up by two with 10 seconds. They had the ball and we were able to take away any good looks and they resulted in a heave at the buzzer and lucky for us it missed.”

Robins led Holton with a double-double, finishing with 15 points and a Holton single-game record of 24 rebounds.

Junior Aubrey Goyings grabbed 13 rebounds for the Red Devils, while Bartolameolli finished with 11 points and five steals.

“Several girls made big plays for us in this back-and-forth game. We earned every point,” Jordan said. “So proud of this team for the effort tonight.”

Schultz led Shelby with 14 points, two rebounds, and four steals. Brylee Friedman recorded a double-double for the Tigers with 11 points and 12 rebounds, while Lydia Soelberg had eight points and three rebounds. Kendall Zaverl added four points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and four steals.

Photos by Mia Milner for CatchMark

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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