The Lady Longhorns rolled to a 64-52 win behind the scoring of returning starters Taylor Deniston and Jordan Jarnigan. Deniston, a senior shooting guard, led the way with 21 points, hitting 3 shots from beyond the arc and 4 out of 4 free throws. Jarnigan, a junior post player, added 19 points, including 4 of 4 from the line and one 3-pointer. Coach Novack started 1 freshman and Eboni Sapien came through with 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the first half.
Holcomb opened the game with a 17-9 run and never looked back, leading by 12 at halftime and building the lead to 24 early in the fourth quarter. Novack then started clearing his bench and Liberal made a late run to close the gap to 64-52 at the final buzzer.
In addition to the three players in double figures, sophomore forward Zoe Engler added 8 points, hitting 6 out of 8 free throws. The Lady Longhorns hit 15 of 20 from the charity stripe, paving the way for Nathan Novack’s first win as a Longhorn.
In the boys’ game, the Longhorns also opened on a 17-9 run and then watched the Redskins roar back to grab a 4-point lead at halftime, 36-32. Holcomb got out-muscled and out-hustled in the first half, but the veteran squad turned that around in the second half, 21-10 in the third quarter to lead 53-46. The Longhorns built the lead to as much as 15, 69-54, before a late push by the Redskins closed the gap to 73-64 at the buzzer.
Head coach Chad Novack said his team started well and then lost focus midway through the first half, but he was pleased with the way the Longhorns regrouped at halftime. Seniors Trey Sleep and Dalton Gottschalk led the way with 22 and 16 points respectively. Sophomore Conner Van Cleave added 11 points, 8 of those in the second half. Senior Jacob Ramsey came off the bench to hit 3 crucial 3-pointers for 9 points, and junior Brandon Stegman added 8 points off the bench.
Both Longhorn teams return to action Thursday for the first game of the Southwest Classic.