Holcomb, Kan. (westernkansasnews.com)–Tuesday night was rivalry night in the Great West Activities Conference, as the Holcomb Longhorns hosted the Scott City Beavers. With mid-season tournaments looming next week, the teams were not only looking to gain some confidence, but also some momentum towards the midway point of the season. For Holcomb, a pair of wins resulted in the Longhorns moving towards the top of the GWAC standings, as the Holcomb girls took a 47-29 win, while the Longhorn boys pulled away late for a 61-53 thriller in a battle of top teams in their classification.
Holcomb returned one key play, but saw one key player sit out. Jordan Jarnagin returned to the lineup for the first time in over a month, while senior Taylor Deniston was held out due to an injury. The Lady Longhorns wasted little time getting the lead as they started out leading 8-0 in the first three minutes of the game. Scott City (2-5 0-3 GWAC) would score their first point halfway through the first period, and trailed 11-5 after one quarter. The closest the Lady Beavers would get would be at 11-7 early in the second quarter. They had many chances to pull closer, but were unable to hit timely shots, and committed turnovers at key times. Holcomb (4-4, 2-1) took a 17-9 lead at tthe break, as both teams struggled scoring in the second eight minutes of play. The second half would be a complete opposite, as the Lady Longhorns built a 29-14 lead with 1:32 left in the third quarter, using a 12-3 run in a five-minute stretch. When it looked like they were going to put the game away for good, Scott City made a big comeback. The Lady Beavers scored the games next nine points to pull to within 29-23 with 6:49 remaining. Unfortunately for them, Holcomb would grow their lead and keep Scott City at arms length. The biggest lead for the Lady Longhorns ended up being 18 points, which came at the end. Leading the charge for Holcomb was freshman Eboni Sapien with a game-high 17 points, while Jordan Jarnagin added 15. Kiana Yager led Scott City with 10 points.
The finale of the evening lived up to the hype and then some. It was a game that saw 12 ties and nine lead changes in the battle of top two teams in Class 4A, Division II and Class 3A. Holcomb built a 12-11 lead after the first quarter, and saw Scott City come back and tie the game at 26 at the break. The biggest lead for the Beavers in the first half was at three points, while the Longhorns led by four. They would both continue to trade leads early in the second half. Scott City (6-1, 2-1 GWAC) took a pair of early leads, only to see Holcomb rally twice to tie. After a 34 all tie with 3:11 left in the third frame, Holcomb (8-0, 3-0) closed out the period on a 9-4 run, including having a seven-point lead, and led 43-38 after three quarters. In the final period, the Beavers came back with a fury, and took the lead with under five minutes left at 48-46. After both teams traded baskets in the next minute, the Longhorns would begin to take charge. In the final 2:41 of the game, Holcomb closed the game on a 13-3 run to win their second straight over the Beavers, and put themselves in sole possession of first place in the league for the time being. Scott City finished with three players in double figures, led by Trey O’Neil with 19 points, while Brett Meyer and Sloan Baker added 12. Holcomb got 15 points each from Trey Sleep and Conner VanCleave.
Both teams have one more game before their respective mid-season tournaments next week. Scott City returns home to face the Ulysses Tigers, while Holcomb will host Goodland.