In a rematch of last year’s championship game at the Hillsboro Trojan Classic, the Holcomb Longhorns turned the tables on the Hesston Swathers, handing the defending 3A state champions just their second loss of the season, 61-56. The unbeaten and top-ranked Longhorns started off fast, leading 15-7 at the end of the 1st quarter, but the Swathers controlled the 2nd quarter, reversing the score and the game was tied at halftime, 22-22. The back-and-forth battle featured 9 ties and 8 lead changes, with the final lead change coming at the 5:15 mark of the 4th quarter, when Holcomb’s Conner Van Cleave put back a missed free throw to give the Longhorns a lead they would never relinquish at 40-38. The Longhorns hit crucial field goals and free throws down the stretch, leading at one point by 10, before finishing off the 61-56 championship win.
Dalton Gottschalk led the Longhorns with 17 points, followed by Trey Sleep with 16. Christian Merz added 11, with 9 points in the 4th quarter, including 6 out of 8 free throws in the game’s final five minutes. Holcomb out-rebounded Hesston 33-28 and earned 16 second chance points. Hesston, now 11-2, was led by senior Tyler McCartney with 19 points, but the Longhorns held senior Grant Raleigh, averaging almost 20 points a game, to just 10 in this one.
The Longhorns improve to 12-0 and return home on Friday for a homecoming matchup against Southwestern Heights. The girls’ game will tip off at 6:30, followed by the boys’ game, with the Longhorn pregame show starting at 6:15 on AM 1030 KBUF.
Girls Finish 5th
The Holcomb girls won two out of three at the Hillsboro Trojan Classic, finishing with a 63-43 win over Hillsboro on Saturday to capture 5th place. After a slow start against the Lady Trojans, the Lady Longhorns used an 11-0 run in the 2nd quarter to open up a 12-point lead and would eventually lead by 13 at halftime, 38-25. Taylor Deniston scored 15 of her 17 points in the opening half, hitting 3 shots from beyond the arc, while Eboni Sapien scored all 12 of her points before halftime, including 2 treys. Jordan Jarnigan took over after the break, scoring 12 of her team-high 19 points to lead Holcomb to its 6th win of the season. In all, four Longhorns would score in double figures, with freshman reserve Courtney Wren adding 10. Sophomore Alex Ratzlaff of Hillsboro led all scorers with 23 points, but the Lady Longhorns’ defense forced 24 Trojan turnovers and turned those into 17 points.
Holcomb is now 6-6 on the year, with the next action coming on Friday for Homecoming versus Southwestern Heights.