Buckhorn’s Caleb Holt Leads Bucks Comeback Over Helena in Class 6A Semifinals

By Josh Bean | For the AHSAA

 BIRMINGHAM – When Buckhorn High School’s basketball team needed someone to make a play, sophomore Caleb Holt delivered repeatedly in Wednesday’s

AHSAA State Basketball Championships Class 6A semifinal game versus Helena.

Holt gave Buckhorn its first lead over tenacious Helena by making a buzzer-beating, left-handed layup at the third-quarter buzzer. Then, in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, Holt blocked a shot, took a charge, dished an assist, grabbed a steal and made two free throws to build an eight-point lead.

The Bucks (27-5) pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 60-47 victory over the Huskies (24-8). “Once again, it was win or go home,” Holt said. “I hate to lose. I do whatever it takes to win. I don’t want to let my team down.” Holt finished with 37 points, seven rebounds, six steals, four assists and three blocked shots. He scored 26 points in the second half.

“Caleb again had another special performance,” Buckhorn coach Patrick Harding said.

Defending Class 6A state champion Buckhorn advances to Saturday’s championship game. Holt was named the tournament MVP last year and took a big step toward winning the award again should his team emerge as the state champion again with Wednesday’s performance.

Helena’s Josh Williams (3) scores 11 first-half points at the BJCC to key the Huskies’ quick start in the 6A semifinals, shown here taking a shot as Buckhorn’s Jackson Ramsey defends. (AHSAA PHOTO | David Holtsford)

“We had a hard time staying in front of him in the second half,” Helena coach Lucas McDonald said. “He’s so good.”

Fred Derrick added 10 points, four rebounds and three steals for Buckhorn.

Josh Williams led Helena (24-8) with 17 points, seven rebounds, five steals and three assists. Ian Johnigan added 12 points, and Joseph King scored nine points.

Helena made its first trip to the state tournament.

“Nobody expected us to be sitting at the final four at the beginning of the year,” McDonald said. “This group accomplished so much and surprised a lot of people by getting here.”

Click here to check out schedules and scores from the 2024 AHSAA State Basketball Finals.

Buckhorn advances to play in Saturday’s title game against a Mountain Brook (26-7) or Carver-Montgomery (18-14), which meet in today’s other 6A boys’ semifinal. Tip-off for Saturday’s championship game is set for 2:15 p.m.

Play continues Wednesday at the Legacy Arena with semifinals in Classes 6A and 5A, and Class 7A plays Thursday morning. Championship games will begin Thursday in Class 1A. Finals for Classes 2A, 3A and 4A will be Friday, and Classes 5A, 6A and 7A close out the 2024 state tourney on Saturday.

All semifinal games are being live streamed over the NFHS Network’s subscriber-based platform and live on the AHSAA TV Network. All 14 state championship games will be aired live over the Alabama Public Television Network and live streamed over the NFHS Network.

Cover Photo: Buckhorn sophomore Caleb Holt (3) delivers for the Bucks in come-from-behind Class 6A semifinal win over Helena. (AHSAA PHOTO | David Holtsford)

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