February 3, 2023

Holcomb girls fall in OT; boys win in rout

On senior night, the Holcomb Lady Longhorns did all they could to send their only senior, Jordan Jarnigan, out with a win, but fell in overtime to the Goodland Cowgirls 50-44.

It was a tightly contested game, featuring 6 ties and 8 lead changes, with neither team leading by more than 5 until the final margin. After Goodland scored the opening basket, Zoe Engler hit a three to give Holcomb the lead and the tug-of-war was on. After one quarter, the score was tied at 9. Chesny McVey gave the Lady Longhorns the lead again with a 3-pointer to start the 2nd quarter and Holcomb would build 5-point leads twice, the last at 18-13 with three minutes to play. But the turnovers that have plagued the Longhorns all season surfaced again and the Cowgirls scored the last 7 points of the half to lead 20-18 at the break. Goodland scored 6 1st half points off Holcomb turnovers.

Holcomb re-took the lead midway through the 3rd quarter on a pair of Zoe Engler free throws, but couldn’t hold it and trailed 34-31 heading into the final stanza. The Lady Longhorns tied the game at 34, but couldn’t retake the lead and the Cowgirls led by 5 with three minutes to play, 41-36. A combination of Holcomb’s defense and Goodland’s misses at the free throw line opened the door for a comeback. Chesny McVey then hit her 2nd trey of the night and followed it up with a basket in the lane with 45 seconds to play to send the game to overtime, tied at 41.

Eboni Sapien opened the OT period with a 3-pointer, but it was the last time Holcomb would score, as Goodland scored 9 unanswered points the rest of the way. The Cowgirls’ Demi Mitchek, who came into the game shooting less than 50% from the charity stripe, was the heroine down the stretch, hitting 4 straight free throws to put the game away. Goodland was just 15 of 30 from the free throw line, while Holcomb hit 14 of 20, but shot just 23% from the field.

Eboni Sapien led Holcomb with 14 points, but fouled out in the OT. Senior Jordan Jarnigan added 13 points, Chesny McVey tallied 8 points and Zoe Engler snagged 11 rebounds to go along with her 5 points. Holcomb falls to 8-11, 5-4 in the GWAC, while Goodland takes over 2nd place in the league at 6-3. The Lady Longhorns will close out the regular season on Tuesday at league-leading Hugoton.

In the boys’ game, the seniors got a chance to shine. Coach Chad Novack started injured senior Christian Merz so he could end the year on his home court and quickly got him out of the game after the opening tip, as senior reserve Marcus Pfeifer immediately committed a foul. Pfeifer then provided his own highlight reel, hitting a trey for Holcomb’s first basket of the night and following up with another bucket to give him 5 points in his final home game. Senior Tanner Mongeau also had a career night, hitting two 3-pointers and finishing with 11 points.

Goodland employed a deliberate offensive style to keep the score low and the game close, which worked for awhile. When Luke Avila hit a buzzer-beating three at the end of the 1st quarter, the Cowboys trailed 15-8. Avila would finish the night with 9 points, all on shots beyond the arc. The Longhorn defense took over in the second quarter, as Holcomb outscored Goodland 13-2 to lead 28-10 at the break. The Longhorns continued the stampede in the 3rd quarter, pouring in 22 points to build the lead to 50-21. Early in the 4th quarter, Holcomb pushed the lead past 30 to invoke the running clock and coasted to the 60-25 win as both coaches cleared their benches. It was the final home game for seniors Braden Showalter, Jaime Hernandez, Trey Teeter, Tanner Mongeau, Marcus Pfeifer and Christian Merz.

Conner Van Cleave led the Longhorns with 19 points, followed by Mongeau’s 11. Holcomb improves to 18-1, 8-1 in conference, and will battle Hugoton Tuesday night for the league championship. The Eagles upset the Longhorns 61-55 in overtime earlier this month.

The pregame show will start at 6:15, with the girls tipping off at 6:30 on AM 1030 KBUF.