Hayti's Brandon Burden attempts to block a shot by Holcomb's Michael Glover.
"Defensive rebounding is what did it," Holcomb coach Seth McBroom said. "That's what we have to do if we are going to win. Tonight we were focused defensively and rebounding the ball. That was the biggest part of the game for us."
Hayti, which had won five straight games and beat Holcomb by single digits earlier this season, played from behind for the final 30 minutes Friday.
Holcomb led 8-1 with 3:58 left in the first quarter. Hayti ended the first quarter with a 6-0 run to trim the margin to 15-13 before falling behind 30-17 with 2:28 left in the first half. Holcomb increased its lead to 46-29 by the end of the third quarter before the margin swelled to 20 at 51-31 with 5:10 left in regulation.
"We switched up a little bit of our defensive scheme and tried to throw a little wrinkle at them," McBroom said of the difference between Round 1 and Round 2 against Hayti. "It helped us on the rebounding side of things."
Hayti charged back after falling behind by double digits. The Indians went on an 11-0 run in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter to cut Holcomb's lead to 51-42 with 1:16 remaining, but never got closer.
Ryan Reeves hit five of Holcomb's six treys on his way to a game-high 22 points. The Hornets' Jamie Massey scored 13 points and Michael Glover finished third in scoring for Holcomb with nine points.
"We were good with the basketball and took good shots," McBroom said. "Jamie Massey, Michael Glover and Ryan Reeves played like men. The entire team gave an excellent effort tonight, really.
"I'm really proud of the focus our kids exhibited tonight," McBroom added.
Maurion Newbill led Hayti in scoring with 15 points. The Indians' Demetrius Luster also finished in double digits with 10 points.
Holcomb will square off against Class 2 district rival Bernie in a championship semifinal Saturday at 8:30 p.m. The Hornets went 2-2 against Bernie last season and eliminated the Mules from postseason play. Bernie defeated Holcomb 54-52 in overtime to win the championship of the Campbell Invitational Tournament the first week of the 2012-13 season.
"You are going to go against a heck of a team," McBroom said of the familiar foe. "They are well-coached and have good players. You don't get to this game without being pretty good. In these tournaments you never know what is going to happen You toss it up, let them play and see what happens."
No. 6 Holcomb 56, No. 3 Hayti 44
HOL 15 15 16 10 -56
HAY 13 8 8 15 - 44
HOLCOMB (56) - Chase Davis 7, Tyler Lewis 1, Ryan Reeves 22, James Vance 4, Jamie Massey 13, Michael Glover 9. FG 19, FT 12/21, F 12. (3-pointers: Reeves 5. Davis 1. Fouled out: none)
HAYTI (44) - Maurion Newbill 15, Cedric Harris 2, Kenard Humes 7, Brandon Burden 2, Demetrius Luster 10, Frankie Burden Jr. 8. FG 18, FT 7/13, F 19. (3-pointers: Newbill 1. Fouled out: Newbill)