Little brother is playing big

More news about: Texas Lutheran
Sterling Holmes has improved every facet of his game this season.
Photo courtesy TLU Athletics 

Sterling Holmes grew up in an athletic family.

His dad was a defensive end on the football team at Nebraska. His sister played basketball at Southeast Missouri State and his brother Jonathan was a basketball player at Texas.

His siblings helped fuel the competitive drive of Holmes, who has turned out to be a pretty good athlete in his own right and is now running the floor as the starting point guard at Texas Lutheran.

"They were bigger than me, so I had no choice but to get better as a player," Holmes said. "We were all competitive and I worked hard to be able to compete as well as I could with them. They made me a better athlete."

The competitive connection he shared with his brother and sister is also the reason the star high school running back in San Antonio chose to play basketball in college instead of football.

"My love for basketball has always been stronger than my love for football, but I also saw how much my brother and sister enjoyed it," Holmes said. "I wanted to experience the same thing. It was a good decision for me."

Indeed it was. Holmes has been nothing short of instrumental to the success of the Bulldogs, who have rattled off nine wins in their last 10 games and sit atop the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference standings with an 8-1 record. They are 16-4 overall.

Holmes is the Bulldogs' leading scorer, averaging 17.1 points per outing. He is also grabbing 7.2 rebounds per game and has dished out 92 assists. His effort on the defensive end of the floor hasn't been bad either as he has racked up 20 steals.

The all-around versatility that Holmes brings to the gym each night is a credit to the work he put in during the offseason.

"My coach talked to me about being more of a leader this year, and I feel like I've done a good job with that," Holmes said. "Whether it's scoring, rebounding, distributing the ball, I just want to do whatever I can to help our team win games. As long as we are winning, that is all that matters."

Holmes averaged 12.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game a year ago and noted that one of the other keys to his success has been his ability to read ball screens.

"I can't tell you the number of ball screens the coaches put me through in practice," Holmes said.

"I've also learned to shoot the ball better. My shot has more of an arc on it this year. I'm also playing with more confidence, which is important because you can't be successful if you aren't confident."

Confidence is something Holmes doesn't lack. He also does a good job of staying on his toes when it comes to balancing academics with athletics.

"It's crazy how much work goes into being a student-athlete," Holmes said. "You have to stay on top of your classes and be ready to show up to practice or a game. It's a grind at times."

But the hard work is worth it. Holmes wouldn't trade the experience of being a student-athlete at the college level for anything.

"It's definitely been a dream come true," Holmes said. "I'm in a good situation here. I love the campus and the teammates I have."

And Holmes loves the way this season has played out so far for the Bulldogs, who won the SCAC tournament crown a year ago and played in the NCAA tournament.

One of the keys to the success this season has been the team's depth.

A total of six players average at least five points per outing, with Jordan Kouremetis (15.8) and Zach Behr (12.9) both scoring in double figures for the Bulldogs.

"I don't think some people realize how deep our team is," Holmes said. "We have guys that can step up at any time. It takes a lot of pressure off me as a point guard because I know if I pass the ball off, someone is going to hit the shot."

The Bulldogs are looking to finish the year strong and carry that momentum into the postseason.

"Defense and rebounding are big parts of our success. We're always told that if we do those things right, the offense will come," Holmes said. "We also have to be able to come ready to practice every day. The good teams don't take a day off. If we do that, we won't have any regrets when this season is over."

Anderson sets rebounding record

Katie Anderson made quite an impact on the glass in Randolph-Macon's game against Hollins Saturday.

Anderson set an Old Dominion Athletic Conference record for rebounds in a game, pulling down 28, and now ranks third-all time in rebounds at the school (958).

She also scored 19 points en route to her 12th double-double of the season, two shy of the number she had a year ago. Behind that performance, she became only the sixth player in program history to score 1,500 points, currently sitting at 1,509 and counting.

Anderson's effort helped the Yellow Jackets snap a two-game losing streak and improve to 9-9 overall and to 5-5 in the conference.

Anderson has led or tied for the team lead in scoring 10 times this season and has been the leading rebounder in all but four games. She averages 19.4 points and 12.9 rebounds per game.

But she also gets the job done on defense, tallying 37 steals and blocking 11 shots.

Big night for Marry

Lorenzo Marry came through with the first double-double of his career Friday night in Greensboro's thrilling 81-79 win over Covenant.

Marry, a junior, scored 13 points and pulled down 11 rebounds as he helped propel the Pride to the victory. The Pride continued their winning ways Sunday in a 91-76 win over Maryville, stretching its win streak to three games. Greensboro is 12-7 overall and 5-2 in the USA South Athletic Conference.

Marry only played in seven games as a freshman and averaged 2.4 points and 1.4 rebounds per game a season ago. He has made strides this season, however, raising his scoring average (6.3) and rebounding average (4.4). Marry has played in 16 games. He scored four points and grabbed four rebounds in the win over Maryville.

Emory plays tough on road

Emory went on the road to battle No. 10 Washington Sunday but fell 75-68 in University Athletic Association action.

The Eagles lost despite a tremendous effort from Shellie Kaniut, who scored a season-high 20 points. Emory fell to 10-8 overall and to 1-6 in the conference. The loss was the third in a row.

Emory was actually ahead at halftime, leading 39-34 but trailed 54-53 heading into the fourth quarter.

Kaniut is having a solid season for the Eagles, ranking second on the team in scoring average (9.9) and leading the team in steals (43). She has also knocked down 20 3-pointers.

Emory went 3-6 in the month of January but will look to turn things around this month as they open with four consecutive home games. The Eagles are 6-5 on their own floor this season.

Carter shines for Sewanee

Keshonn Carter had a day to remember in Sewanee's 80-65 win over Barry Sunday in Southern Athletic Association action.

Carter recorded a double-double as he came through with 12 points and 11 rebounds. In the process, he became the 13th player in program history to have at least 1,500 points and 500 rebounds. Carter pushed his career scoring total over 1,000 (1,004) and is closing in on 600 rebounds (559).

Four other players scored in double figures as Cody Jones poured in 18 points while Brody Stone lit up the scoreboard for 16 points and also pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds.

Jacob McCullough nearly had a double-double as he scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds. He also dished out five assists and racked up five steals. Clay Born finished with 12 points.

Sewanee improved to 13-6 overall and is in second place in the conference with a 6-2 record. The Tigers have won their last two games.

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Brian Lester

Brian Lester is a reporter in Florida. He has 15 years of experience at newspapers in Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio, spending 10 at The Courier in Findlay, Ohio. Lester also writes an Around the Region column for and wrote the book Perfect Run as No. 1 about the 2009 Division II men's basketball champions University of Findlay. He is a graduate of Eastern Illinois.