The Holcomb Longhorns built a double-digit lead in the first half and then kept a tough Osawatomie Trojan team at arm’s length, winning 77 – 60 on Friday to advance to the state championship game Saturday night at the Hartman Arena in Park City.
Christian Merz opened the game on fire from 3-point range, hitting 5 of 7 treys in the first half to lead the Longhorns to a 45 – 34 halftime lead. Both teams shot around 50% in the 1st half, but Osawatomie cooled down in the 2nd half, hitting 43% for the game, while Holcomb shot 48% from the field. The Longhorns also hit 20 out of 25 free throws, compared to the Trojans 11 of 21.
Merz and Trey Sleep led the Longhorns with 22 points apiece; Dalton Gottschalk had 15 points and Conner Van Cleave just missed another double-double, with 8 points and 15 rebounds. Holcomb out-rebounded Osawatomie 41 – 23.
The Longhorns improve to 23-1 and play for their third state title, first since 1992 and first under 4th-year head coach Chad Novack.