The Holcomb Lady Longhorns held on for 38-33 win over Ulysses, while the Longhorn boys withstood a second quarter rally from the Tigers and coasted to a 76-57 victory.
Playing their second straight game without leading scorer Jordan Jarnigan, the Holcomb girls again struggled to score early, getting a Zoe Engler free throw and an Eboni Sapien putback for their first points 4:30 into the game. Eboni Sapien then tied the game at 5 a minute later. With a minute left in the quarter, Eboni then stole the ball and hit a 3-pointer to give the Lady Longhorns a lead they would never relinquish. From the 2:45 mark of the first quarter, the Tigers suffered through an 8:30 scoring drought, as the Longhorns stretched the lead to 10 points. After Ulysses cut it to 8 with 10 seconds remaining in the half, Engler drained a buzzer beating trey and Holcomb led by 11 at the break, 21-10.
Ulysses scored the first 7 points of the second half to cut Holcomb’s lead to 4. Sapien then hit two 3-pointers, sandwiched around a Tiger basket, to push the Longhorn lead back to 8. Ulysses scored the last 4 points of the quarter and after three quarters, Holcomb led 27-23. Sapien hit another trey early in the fourth quarter to stretch the lead back to 7, but Ulysses would cut the lead to 1 point, 34-33, with less than a minute to play. Holcomb would hit 4 out of 6 free throws down the stretch and hang on for the win.
Eboni Sapien led all scorers with 22 points and also grabbed 8 rebounds. Zoe Engler had 8 boards and added 9 points. The Lady Longhorns improve to 3-4, 2-0 in GWAC play, and will travel to Scott City Tuesday night.
In the boys’ game, the Longhorns got off to the fast start Coach Chad Novack has been wanting, racing to a 26-11 lead in the first 8 minutes. But after building the lead to 19, 36-17, early in the second quarter, the Longhorns suddenly forgot how to take care of the basketball or play defense, as the Tigers closed the half on a 16-4 run and Holcomb led just 40-33 at halftime.
The Longhorns ended any thoughts the Tigers might have had of an upset in the third quarter, scoring the first 7 points of the second half to rebuild a double-digit lead and finishing the third quarter up 57-39. The Longhorns opened the fourth quarter with a 10-0 run and twice led by 28 points, 67-39 and 71-43. Novack cleared his bench and Holcomb coasted to the finish line for the 76-57 win.
Conner Van Cleave dominated at both ends of the court, scoring 26 points and snagging 18 rebounds, including 8 offensive boards. Christian Merz chipped in 17 and Braden Showalter added 9. Brandon Stegman dished out 5 of the Longhorns’ 15 assists.
Holcomb improves to 7-0, 2-0 in conference play. The Tigers drop to 5-3, 2-1 in the GWAC. The Longhorns travel to Scott City Tuesday night to take on the Beavers.