By Andrew Johnson

HOLTON – Holton boys basketball Coach Mike Fosberg was less than thrilled with his team’s win over Walkerville on Thursday on the first day of the Holton Winter Showcase.

But he felt much better after a 57-30 victory over Hart on Friday night on the final night of the tournament.

Kevin Slowik goes in for the Holton basket. Photo/Leo Valdez

“We were better than last night, that’s for sure,” said Fosberg, whose team beat Walkerville by 12 on Thursday. “Tonight was a lot better. Offensively we were patient and moved the ball.

“Tonight we actually brought energy, and that’s something we talked about. We brought more energy and were confident tonight.”

The game was tight after one quarter. Jake Tanner and Kevin Slowik each had five points, helping the Red Devils to a 13-11 lead.

Holton took command of the contest in the second quarter, scoring 20 points to take a 33-21 lead into halftime. Brent McLaughlin provided a spark off the bench, scoring six of his 12 points.

McLaughlin was a starter in the season opener for Holton, but has been coming off the bench ever since, and it seems to be working well for his team.

“He gives us great rebounding and a great defensive presence,” Fosberg said about McLaughlin. “Having the luxury of him coming off the bench is so nice. Offensively he has a great jump shot that’s hard to guard. Having him rested and coming in when we need him is great.”

“It’s just good to help my team,” McLaughlin said. “I started the first game but I’ve been the sixth man every game since then. It’s way different because I started every game last year, but it’s for the team.”

The Holton defense was superb in the second half, allowing only nine total points – six in the third quarter and three in the fourth.

”We actually locked up on our defense and fought through screens,” Fosberg said. “We didn’t allow them to attack the basket, and that was the biggest adjustment for us.”

The Red Devils led 47-27 after three quarters, then outscored Hart 10-3 down the stretch to ice the victory. Tanner led Holton in the third quarter with seven points.

Slowik and Tanner finished with 17 points apiece for the Red Devils. Hart was led by Garrett Eisenlohr with nine points and Alec Kempker with eight.

“We moved the ball really well, we had good screens and good rolls,” Tanner said. “Coach talked about stepping up the defense at halftime and Nick Swanson came up pretty good in shutting down their point guard.”

Holton improved to 4-2 on the season while Hart dropped to 1-5.