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“When I see that stuff I just laugh,” Merrillville senior Jaylon Holmes said. “I don’t let it get into my head. I just try to play through it, play my game.”

And boy did the 6 foot 6 forward turned guard in this game do it.

The Pirates trailed 15 10 after the first quarter as a fired up 59ers crowd was going crazy. Lux moved Holmes out top and on the wing, where he could use his penetrating ball handling skills at another level.

Holmes scored 10 second quarter points on his way to a career high 23 points with 14 rebounds as Merrillville won its fourth straight over the ‘Niners by a 71 54 score.

His offensive burst also eased the defensive attention on senior Johnny Bernard, who also scored 23 points in the win.

“I’ve always known (Holmes) could play,” Bernard said. “Having a breakout game like this, I know it’s going give him a lot of confidence moving forward.”

With Santa and his elves going crazy after the first horn of the night, the Pirates (2 1) knew one thing had to happen. Their lackluster defensive effort had to go to another gear. Or three.

And that’s exactly what happened over the last 24 minutes of the game. The 59ers (3 2),
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losers of their second straight, struggled to find an open shot.

“And their defense was really good. We couldn’t run our offense.”

Andrean freshman Kyle Ross scored 9 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and ended with 11 rebounds. No other ‘Niner was in double figures.

Lux talked to his players before the game about coming to Merrillville Andrean games in the 1980s and spoke to them about how many great players and games have participated in this series through the years.

The guys in purple finally revved up their engines.

“It’s the Battle of Broadway, yeah it matters,” Bernard said.

“Battle of Broadway, it means a lot,” Holmes said.

“How can you not get fired up for a rivalry game,” Lux said. “You always have great student sections, great chants,
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why wouldn’t you want to play in a game like this?”