The Holcomb Longhorn boys struggled to put Riley County away early, but dominated the second half to win 61-27 in their opening round game at the Hillsboro Trojan Classic. After falling behind 7-2 in the first two minutes, the Longhorns outscored the Falcons 14-2 over the rest of the opening quarter and led 16-9 after one. In the second quarter, Riley County kept it close and when senior guard Jackson Wagner drained a three, the Falcons only trailed 25-22 with 2:30 to play in the first half. The Longhorns ran off 8 straight points before the Falcons closed out the half with a basket and Holcomb led by just 9, 33-24, at the break.
Some halftime instruction from Coach Chad Novack turned things around and the Longhorns shut out Riley County in the third quarter to blow the game open, 53-24 after three quarters of play. From there, Holcomb coasted to the 61-27 win.
Conner Van Cleave led the Longhorns with 25 points and sophomore Kobe Dickson added 12 points off the bench.
The Longhorns improve to 10-0 and will take on Sunrise Christian, a 59-48 winner over Hillsboro, on Friday night at 7:30.
In girls’ action, the Holcomb Lady Longhorns jumped out to a 17-9 first quarter lead over the Hillsboro Trojans, thanks in large part to the return of Jordan Jarnigan, who had 10 first half points. Hillsboro made a dent in the lead in the second quarter, outscoring Holcomb 8-5 to trim the Longhorn lead to 22-17 at halftime. In addition to Jarnigan’s 10 first half points, Eboni Sapien scored 8 in the first two quarters.
Unfortunately, as has happened several times this season, one bad quarter doomed the Lady Longhorns. Holcomb committed 6 third quarter turnovers and scored just two points, as Hillsboro scored 15 and raced to a 32-24 lead. Sapien tried to lead the charge back and Holcomb cut the lead to 37-34 with 2:30 to play, but the Lady Longhorns couldn’t score again and fell 41-34.
Eboni Sapien led Holcomb with 18 points and Jordan Jarnigan followed with 12. The Longhorns lost Zoe Engler to an apparent ankle injury early in the game.
The Lady Longhorns fall to 3-7 on the season and will play Friday night at 6:00 in the consolation bracket.