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Father and son team for rare feat

Monday, March 14, 2011

(Photo)
Sikeston senior Will Holifield releases on his fourth made 3-pointer in the first half against St. Francis Borgia on Saturday at Mizzou Arena.
(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
sd_sports@yahoo.com

COLUMBIA -- It's not too often a father and son get to share a state championship together.

What may be even more unbelievable is that the son helps give his dad the very first one.

Sikeston senior Will Holifield did just that as he helped guide the Bulldogs and his father, head coach Gregg Holifield, to Sikeston's first-ever state championship to go along with an undefeated season.

"I'm just so happy," Will Holifield said. "I love my dad. He's been my hero, my best friend my whole life. Just to go out my last year and give him one just means everything in the world to me. It just means so much to me."

Holifield played his normal role of deadly sharpshooter on Saturday against the Borgia Knights. He sank all four of his 3-point attempts in the first half -- reversing what has usually taken place against the perimeter-happy Borgia in previous meetings.

"The last two times we've played them, (Borgia) has really come out strong on us," Holifield said. "It was 11-0 last year and they did the same to Soldan (in the semifinals). We knew we couldn't let that happen. Borgia will slow it down and they will beat you if they get up early on you.

"We just had to push the tempo and I was able to get some open looks and was able to knock them down."

Holifield began taking an interest in basketball around the seventh grade. His dad did what he could to help him in his new endeavor.

"He just came in one day and said he wanted to play," coach Holifield said. "I told him that we'll do whatever we can to make him a player. He's worked very, very hard."

From that point on, Holifield has fit in as Sikeston's perimeter threat. Hours upon hours of working on his shot inside the Sikeston Field House has made him one of the most accurate perimeter shooters in the state.

Just this year alone, Holifield knocked down 53 3-pointers -- 12 more than his 41 2-point field goals. He ended the year as a 44 percent 3-point shooter and a 56 percent shooter overall.

"He's a self-made player," said coach Holifield. "That's something from a coaching standpoint you try and build a team and put parts where you need it. He filled a role for us. He's a shooter that stretches a defense and allows us to do different things.

"He stretched the defense and allowed our post-game to go to work."

Not only does coach Holifield get to share his first-ever state championship as a coach with is son, he also gets to share it with his stepson, Caleb McGee. McGee has came off the bench all year as part of Sikeston's 'second-team.'

"Will has worked as hard as anybody," coach Holifield said. "He's put in a lot of time in that gym -- a lot of hard work. To be in this situation, him and I, to win a championship, and with Caleb being my stepson, it is a great, great feeling."

"Not many coaches and their sons get to do that," said Will Holifield. "Just for us to get to share this is something I will cherish until the day I die. I honestly mean that."