For eight minutes on Tuesday night, Lakin’s Ryder Yaekel was almost unstoppable as he hit his first 5 shots, including three from beyond the arc, scoring 13 of the Broncs’ 17 1st quarter points. The Longhorn defense, specifically Brandon Stegman, limited Yaekel to just 11 more the rest of the way, as Holcomb overcame an early 12-point deficit to beat Lakin 45-40.
The Broncs led 17-7 after one quarter and when Yaekel scored early in the 2nd quarter, the Bronc lead was 12. Not only was Yaekel red-hot, the Longhorns were ice-cold, hitting just 2 of their first 10 shots and just 6 of 24 for the half. But Holcomb’s ball-hawking defense held Lakin to 6 points in the 2nd quarter and the Longhorns scored the last 8 points of the 1st half to cut the Broncs’ lead to 23-20 headed into the locker room.
Turning defense into offense became the key for the Longhorns as they used three Bronc turnovers early in the 3rd quarter to spur an 8-0 run that gave Holcomb the lead for good 30-26. Lakin could only muster 4 points in the 3rd quarter and Holcomb held a 5-point lead 32-37. Lakin twice cut the lead to 2 in the 4th quarter, but the Longhorn defense sparked an 11-0 run to give Holcomb a 45-32 lead with just over two minutes to play. The Longhorns went cold down the stretch, including 0 for 4 from the free throw line, but hung on for the 5-point victory.
Lakin’s Ryder Yaekel led all scorers with 24 points, hitting 5 of 7 from beyond the arc and shooting 69% from the field. Christian Merz led Holcomb with 17 points and Conner Van Cleave had another double-double with 14 points and 18 rebounds. Holcomb shot just 37% from the field, while Lakin hit 56%, 14 of 25, including going 7 out of 14 from three-point range.
Lakin drops to 9-6 and Holcomb improves to 15-1.
In the girls’ game, Holcomb held Lakin’s leading scorer Robin Ritsema to just 4 points, 8 below her season average, but poor shooting and untimely turnovers doomed the Lady Longhorns, 46-36. For the game, Holcomb shot just 22% from the field, including 3 of 15 from 3-point range; Lakin shot 44% from the field.
Lakin led 9-2 after one quarter and stretched the lead to 11-2, before Holcomb trimmed it to five, but that’s as close as the Longhorns could get, trailing the Broncs 21-11 at halftime. The Lady Longhorns made a little run in the 3rd quarter, outscoring the Lady Broncs 8-2, including 6 unanswered points, to cut the lead to 4, 23-19. Lakin kept Holcomb at bay, though, leading by 5, 29-24 after three quarters. The Lady Broncs opened the 4th quarter on a 6-0 run, effectively putting the game away less than three minutes into the final quarter. Holcomb would trim the lead to 7 once, but could get no closer, eventually falling by 10.
With Robin Ritsema limited to a couple of 2nd quarter baskets, Taryn Reed and Lizzy Webb led the way for Lakin with 13 and 12 points respectively. Jordan Jarnigan was the only Longhorn in double figures with 11 points, while Kim Sinoy added 7 off the bench.
The Lakin Lady Broncs improve to 8-7, while the Holcomb Lady Longhorns fall to 6-10.
Friday night is homecoming for Lakin, with Elkhart coming to town. Holcomb returns to conference action Friday at Ulysses. Earlier this season, Holcomb swept Ulysses, with the girls winning 38-33, while the boys thumped the Tigers 76-57.
The girls’ game will tip off at 6:30 with the pregame show starting at 6:15 on AM 1030 KBUF.