The Licking Heights High School boys basketball team didn't score many style points when it returned from an unexpected midseason break to post a 41-38 MSL-Cardinal Division victory at Grandview on Jan. 26.

The Licking Heights High School boys basketball team didn't score many style points when it returned from an unexpected midseason break to post a 41-38 MSL-Cardinal Division victory at Grandview on Jan. 26.

"I wasn't really sure what to expect," coach Nathan Clark said afterward as his voice trailed off. "Our kids responded."

The timing of a winter storm that brought more snow to central Ohio and postponed a showdown with first-place Harvest Prep on Jan. 21 couldn't have been worse. The Hornets were in the midst of a seven-game winning streak, after all.

So when the Hornets took the floor against the Bobcats they had last played 11 days earlier, beating host Liberty Union 65-38 on Jan. 15. It looked like it, too. The Hornets struggled offensively and trailed 26-22 entering the fourth quarter.

"We tried to do what we could (during the layoff)," Clark said. "We tried to emulate the competitive spirit, but that's not an easy thing to do. We did a lot of 3-on-3 defensive work and stuff like that. We made the best of a tough situation."

Deonte Holder scored all 12 of his points in the second half as the Hornets posted their eighth consecutive victory, which is their longest winning streak in Clark's four seasons. They won seven in a row at one point a year ago while finishing 11-10.

Holder, who is the team's leading scorer at 18.4 points per game, had 10 during the fourth quarter as the Hornets rallied. Darius Strickland's put-back provided a 30-29 advantage they would not relinquish with 5 minutes, 29 seconds remaining. Holder followed with a free throw on one possession and a 3-pointer on the next as the lead grew to 34-29. He also had a three-point play to make it 38-34, and Dewey Rice knocked down a pair of free throws to complete the scoring with 6 seconds left to play after the Bobcats had pulled to within 39-38. Grandview's Oliver Rouch missed wide right on what would have been a tying 3-pointer from near mid-court as the final horn sounded.

Licking Heights improved to 8-4 overall and 6-1 in the MSL-Cardinal entering a league game against Berne Union on Jan. 29. It avenged a 48-40 loss to Grandview on Dec. 11, and the win was the team's first over the Bobcats since a 45-37 victory on Jan. 12, 2007.

"This was a pretty big win for us," said senior guard Brionne Mitchell, who was in the eighth grade when the Hornets last defeated the Bobcats. "It's big for us as a program because we hadn't beaten them yet."

The home game with Harvest Prep has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 2. The Warriors were 8-3 overall and 7-0 in the MSL-Cardinal before playing Grandview on Jan. 29. They gave third-place West Jefferson a third league loss with a 68-52 victory on Jan. 25, and Grandview also had three MSL-Cardinal losses entering the weekend.

"Our team has shown so much growth since we started (the season) with four losses," Clark said. "We should definitely be ready for Harvest Prep, and getting a couple of more games in before then can only help.

"Of course, they've had a lot of time to prepare and scout us, too. They were here again tonight as a matter of fact. It's going to be a great game. "