The Holcomb Longhorns won their second straight tournament championship, and third in four years, at the Hillsboro Trojan Classic, whipping the Hesston Swathers, 67-57. It’s the third straight year Holcomb and Hesston have faced off in the tournament’s title game, with the Longhorns winning the last two meetings. It was just the second loss of the season for the Swathers, ranked 4th in Class 3A, while the Longhorns, #1 in 4A-II, remain unbeaten.
The first half was tightly contested, though Hesston led only once, 8-7, early in the first quarter. After regaining the lead at 9-8, the Longhorns never trailed, but could never get more than 5 points ahead until the end of the first half. Holcomb led 16-12 after one quarter, behind 7 points from Christian Merz. Brandon Stegman had the hot hand in the second quarter, scoring 13 points, including a trio of three-pointers. The last trey came just before the halftime buzzer and boosted the Longhorns to their biggest lead at 35-29.
As they did in the semifinal game, the Longhorns used an air tight defense to spark a third quarter run, holding the Swathers to just 4 points while putting up 15, to lead 50-33 after three quarters. Less than three minutes into the final quarter, Holcomb had stretched the lead to 20, 55-35, but the Longhorns got a little sloppy after that. Hesston cut the lead to 9 late in the game, but Holcomb hit free throws down the stretch, including 5 straight from Dillon Williams, to win by 10.
Brandon Stegman led Holcomb with 19 points, followed by Christian Merz with 14 and Dillon Williams with 11. For the first time this season, Conner Van Cleave was held under 10 points, finishing with 9, but he did pull down 10 rebounds.
Holcomb is now 12-0 and will be back in action Friday at Southwestern Heights.