Top-ranked Holcomb overcomes sluggish start for win

The Holcomb Longhorns followed a dominating performance from Conner Van Cleave to an easy win over Pueblo East 70-49 on Thursday night in the Roundball Classic.

 Holcomb started fast scoring 5 points in just over a minute, but then couldn’t find the basket the rest of the opening quarter. Pueblo East struggled just as much, unable to score until the final minute of the quarter and the first stanza ended with the Longhorns up 5-2. That changed quickly in the second quarter, as the Longhorns scored 7 quick points to build a 10-point lead, 12-2, and kept the lead at double figures most of the quarter. By the break, Holcomb led 29-17 behind 12 1st half points from Van Cleave.

The onslaught continued in the second half as the Longhorns used a stingy defense and dominating inside play to pull away, leading 55-37 after three quarters and building a 26-point lead in the 4th quarter before cruising in with the 70-49 win. Conner Van Cleave finished with a double-double, 26 points and 17 boards, while also blocking three shots. Christian Merz followed with 12 and Trey Gilbert added 11 points off the bench.

Most of Holcomb’s scoring came in the paint and the Longhorns hit just 3 of 20 shots from beyond the arc, finishing with 43% shooting on the night. As usual, the Longhorns spread the ball around, finishing with 15 assists as a team.

Holcomb’s next game is against Palmer Ridge Friday night, with coverage on AM 1030 KBUF beginning immediately following the Holcomb girls’ game.