Holcomb dominates Lakin in sub-state first round game.

By KEVIN THOMPSON

sports@gctelegram.com

HOLCOMB The Holcomb girls are on a roll at the right time.

They showed that Tuesday night in getting their fifth-straight win, a 51-21 win over visiting Lakin in the quarterfinal round of the Class 3A sub-state.

The fourth-seeded Lady Longhorns did it in typical fashion, dominating the boards, cashing in on shots and creating turnovers.

Karissa Pena scored 14 points to lead Holcomb, and Kyshia Prieto added 12.

As a team, the Longhorns were 20-of-53 from the floor (38 percent), outrebounded Lakin 31-16, and caused 30 Lady Bronc turnovers.

After Lakin's Mariah Hill opened the game with a field goal, Holcomb went on an 18-2 run and then outscored Lakin 18-9 in the second to take a commanding lead at the half.

The Holcomb defense forced 13 first-quarter turnovers and eight more in the second. Meanwhile, Pena, Prieto and Taylor Deniston hit for 27 of Holcomb's first-half points.

That was the tale of the good and the bad all evening, depending on which team fans were rooting for.

For Holcomb coach Kelley Snodgrass, the opening-round win was a good, solid team effort.

"I was definitely impressed with our defense. Our girls came out hard," she said. "Rebounding, we did a really good job. We were a little careless with the ball at times, but that's the tempo. We were trying to push it and do good things."

She was referring to the Longhorns' four turnovers on their first eight possessions and six on their first 10 possessions of the second quarter. She intimated that the Longhorns' offensive aggressiveness more than made up for that.

Snodgrass was pleased with the rebounding effort throughout the game, describing her team's effort as "awesome."

"Offensively, we crashed. They did a great job on the offensive boards (15 total)," she said.

"Our girls came out with great intensity on the defensive end, too," she added as Holcomb limited Lakin to just eight field goals on 31 attempts.

On the Lakin side, things weren't as upbeat.

Long scoring droughts were just too much to overcome, Lakin coach Shawn Michaelis said.

"A lot of credit goes to Holcomb. Their pressure took us out of anything and everything we wanted to do," he said. "They came out and played well."

Hill, Lakin's leading scorer, was held to just that one field goal. Mariah Watkins led the Broncs, managing just five points.

Michaelis said Lakin was doing a good job forcing turnovers in the first half, causing 11 Holcomb miscues, but the Broncs had trouble converting on the offensive end. Part of that was youth.

"We had a couple easy ones underneath," he said. "We had too many of those tonight with freshmen and sophomores still playing like freshmen and sophomores. Just too many little mistakes."

That said, he was proud of the way his Broncs played down the stretch. At 9-13, they almost doubled their win total from last year. And after a 1-8 start, the team won eight of 13 games the rest of the way.

Holcomb will now face Southwestern Heights, a team the Longhorns defeated 57-44 on Feb. 10, on Friday in the semifinals.

"We have to take it one game at a time. Heights is a really good team, but hopefully the girls will have some confidence. We beat them down there, and with defense like tonight and winning the battle of the boards, we'll be ready," Snodgrass said.

The signature of this Longhorn team is stoicism, Snodgrass said. Winning or losing, her girls always look focused.

"Nobody should know what the score is. You play hard all the time, each possession, with defensive intensity, and these girls do a great job of that," she said.

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Lakin (9-13) 4 9 4 4 -- 21

Holcomb (15-6) 18 18 11 4 -- 51

Lakin (21) Williams 0 2-2 2, Hill 1 0-0 2, Davidson 1 0-0 2, Haney 1 0-0 2, Rogers 2 0-1 4, Watkins 2 0-0 4, Richter 1 2-2 4. Totals 8 4-5 21.

Holcomb (51) Pfeifer 1 0-0 3, Prieto 5 1-2 12, Heydman 4 1-2 9, Taylor 1 2-2 4, Deniston 4 0-0 8, Amos 0 1-4 1, Pena 6 2-2 14. Totals 21 7-12 51.

3-point goals Lakin 1 (Watkins), Holcomb 2 (Pfeifer 1, Prieto 1). Rebounds Lakini 16, Holcomb 31. Turnovers Lakin 30, Holcomb 18. Fouled out Lakin (Hill). Total fouls Lakin 13, Holcomb 12.