• Newsletters
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
°
Friday, May 26, 2017
View complete forecast
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Little-known Legends have played important roles in North Side's road to state title game

North Side senior Elijah Holmes drives to the basket during a game earlier this season. (News-Sentinel file photo by Dan Vance)
North Side senior Elijah Holmes drives to the basket during a game earlier this season. (News-Sentinel file photo by Dan Vance)
North Side junior Alijah Long signs a young fan'ss shirt after the Legends won the sectional championship at Carroll earlier this month. (News-Sentinel file photo by Dan Vance)
North Side junior Alijah Long signs a young fan'ss shirt after the Legends won the sectional championship at Carroll earlier this month. (News-Sentinel file photo by Dan Vance)

More Information

LITTLE-KNOWN LEGENDS

Elijah Holmes, senior, guard


Height: 5-foot-9


Points per game: 1.9


Rebounds per game: 1.9


Assists per game: 1.8


Alijah Long, junior, guard


Height: 5-foot-10


Points per game: 2.4


Rebounds per game: 0.9


Assists per game: 0.4

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Holmes, Long have been crucial to success

Friday, March 24, 2017 12:01 am

Like most games, media talk dissecting North Side's chances in Saturday's Class 4A state title game will largely focus on the big names — Jaylen Butz, Keion Brooks Jr., Juan Quarles, etc.

Mostly forgotten by outsiders are the roles of a pair of guards in getting the Legends back to the state championship after 52 years.

While senior Elijah Holmes begins games in the starting lineup, he averages less than two points per game and frequently gives way to Davontae Kinnie off the bench early on.

Junior Alijah Long is the "seventh man" for the Legends and constitutes the last proven commodity on Coach Shabaz Khaliq's relatively-short bench.

Together, Holmes and Long — aka Eli and Duker — have given North what it needs as its role players.

"They do the little things that don't get noticed in the box score or get recognition," Khaliq said.

Holmes is one of North Side's better on-ball defenders. He played a significant role in holding Merrillville sharpshooter Jonah Jackson, a 40 percent three-point shooter on the year, to just 1-of-6 from the field in last weekend's semistate at Huntington North.

Meanwhile, Long has been key in giving other players a breather here and there during the game and can hold his own handling the basketball.

One of the more underrated aspects of hoops is being able to come off the bench cold and immediately make a difference or, at the very least, hold serve and not hurt the team on the court.

Holmes and Long do just that, despite averaging a combined 4.3 points per game.

"They understand when they have to be ready and they know what they have to do (when in the game)," Khaliq said. "They are not expected to come into the game and make a huge difference. But they do things they are comfortable doing and help the other guys."

It takes a certain type of commitment to embrace a role that isn't in line with what you envision. Most athletes grow up certain that they will be a star on their team. Holmes and Long are content with doing whatever is asked of them on this North Side squad.

"I don't care about recognition if we win," Holmes said. "Without me and Duker doing the small stuff, I don't think we would be as successful."

North Side's ability to have all seven of the players in its rotation will be key in attempting to knock off Ben Davis on Saturday. The Giants have proven they can play up-tempo against talented teams like Castle and win as well as slow it down and stall, as it did in the regional against North Central and Connersville.

If the Legends are to win their first-ever state title, Holmes and Long could be thrust into some big moments.

Holmes is ready.

"This still feels like a dream, you can't really get your mind on it," said Holmes about playing for a state championship. "It is still unbelievable, especially as a senior."

More Information

LITTLE-KNOWN LEGENDS

Elijah Holmes, senior, guard


Height: 5-foot-9


Points per game: 1.9


Rebounds per game: 1.9


Assists per game: 1.8


Alijah Long, junior, guard


Height: 5-foot-10


Points per game: 2.4


Rebounds per game: 0.9


Assists per game: 0.4

Comments

News-Sentinel.com reserves the right to remove any content appearing on its website. Our policy will be to remove postings that constitute profanity, obscenity, libel, spam, invasion of privacy, impersonation of another, or attacks on racial, ethnic or other groups. For more information, see our user rules page.
comments powered by Disqus