In a showdown between unbeatens, the visiting Hugoton Eagles took down the top-ranked Holcomb Longhorns in overtime, 61-55 on Thursday night. For the Longhorns, it was the first loss since last February and broke a 20-game winning streak.
Holcomb led early, but Hugoton’s defense forced several turnovers that led to easy baskets and the Longhorns never really got comfortable on the offensive end. A 10-0 run gave the Eagles a 12-5 lead in the first quarter and the Longhorns seemed to be playing catch-up all night long. Holcomb trailed 20-16 after one quarter and 29-27 at halftime. Conner Van Cleave kept the Longhorns in the game with 15 first half points, but he would only score 3 in the second half.
Christian Merz, who had 7 points at halftime, started the second half on fire, hitting two treys and scoring off a steal in the first minute of the third quarter. That 8-0 surge gave the Longhorns their biggest lead of the night, 35-29. But Hugoton outscored Holcomb 13-7 the rest of the quarter and the game was tied at 42 heading into the fourth. Holcomb’s last lead came with just over six minutes to play on a free throw that put the Longhorns up 47-46. Hugoton regained the lead and stretched it to 4 at 53-49. A Christian Merz free throw and then a steal and layup by Trey Gilbert cut the lead to 1. After Hugoton’s Colby Korf hit one of two free throws, Conner Van Cleave busted down the lane with the tying basket at the 38 second mark. Regulation ended with the game tied at 54.
After four quarters of hard-fought basketball that featured 11 ties and 8 lead changes, Hugoton took the lead for good early in the overtime on a Tony Kinser free throw. The Eagles would hit 7 free throws in the extra period, while the Longhorns could only score one point. Neither team hit from the field in overtime.
Parker Titus led Hugoton with 16, including 7 of 8 from the line and one 3-pointer. Wade Heger added 13. Christian Merz led Holcomb with 19 points, followed by Conner Van Cleave’s 18 on a night when the Longhorns hit just 31% of their shots, compared to the Eagles’ 60%.
Hugoton is 14-0 and in first place alone in the GWAC at 5-0. Holcomb falls to 13-1, 4-1 in league play. The Longhorns will host Colby Friday night.
The girls’ game also featured a number one team, the Hugoton Lady Eagles. Holcomb hung tough early, trailing 14-9 after one quarter and cutting the lead to 3 thirty seconds into the second quarter. Hugoton then launched a 10-0 run and Holcomb never recovered. The Lady Eagles led by 14 at halftime, 39-25, and by 26 after three quarters, 65-39, rolling to an 82-48 win.
Holcomb shot 53% from the field, but the Lady Longhorns were burned by 30 turnovers, many of which the Lady Eagles turned into easy baskets. Hugoton’s Katy Heger led all scorers with 19 points, followed by Dallie Hoskinson with 18, Amy Scott with 15 and Laney Hoskinson with 12. Eboni Sapien led Holcomb with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Zoe Engler added 10 points for the Lady Longhorns.
Holcomb falls to 5-8 and will host Colby Friday night. The pregame show will begin at 6:15 on AM 1030 KBUF.