By KEVIN THOMPSON
HOLCOMB — A couple of different Holcomb teams showed up Friday night, but in the end, the real Longhorns came away with a 64-33 win over Goodland in Great West Activities Conference action.
On the one hand early was the team that missed a lot of shots in the first quarter and had just a 12-11 lead after the Cowboys started the second period with an early bucket.
After a quick timeout called by Holcomb coach Chad Novack to straighten out a few things, the real Longhorn squad emerged, going on a 17-0 run to take a 29-13 halftime lead.
Shane Bennett blocked two shots and scored six points to take over the inside, and Holcomb hit three treys from a variety of spots to get back on track in the second quarter.
“The first half I was just more disappointed in our defensive effort. We had a distinct size advantage, but they got some offensive boards we shouldn’t have allowed,” Novack said. “In the second half, we did a much better job of blocking out.”
In the first half, Holcomb gave up six offensive rebounds; in the second half, none, so that facet worked, he said.
After trading baskets for much of the third period, Holcomb went on a 12-3 run to end that frame, including eight points by Aaron Hernandez.
Tyler LaSalle led all scorers with 19 points, while Bennett had 14 and Hernandez 10.
Holcomb shot 45 percent from the floor (28-of-62), including 7-of-15 from behind the arc.
That could have been an even higher percentage, Novack said, if they could have hit the inside guys more in the first half (they were just 6-of-14 underneath) instead of settling for as many outside shots as they did.
“When we have an advantage like that inside, we need to do a better job of getting the ball in there,” he said.
But they did end up with 18 offensive boards, so that means the guys inside were working hard, as was the rest of the team.
“The kids played hard again,” Novack. “Not such a great first half, but in the second they played a lot better defense.”
Getting to the line just four times on only eight Goodland fouls, however, tells him his team wasn’t as aggressive as it needed to be.
But Holcomb only had five turnovers on the night, and that was definitely a factor, Novack said.
“Our goal is 12 or less, and we end up with five. That was a good job on our part taking care of the basketball,” he said.
Goodland was led by Gage Ihrig with 15 points and Gannon Ihrig with 10. Only two other Cowboys scored.
Gage Ihrig hit all three of Goodland’s 3-pointers, but he and Gannon Ihrig missed 13 combined.
“They’ve got some shooters,” Novack said. “We knew that going into it. At times we lost them on defense, which shouldn’t happen, but in the second half we did a much better job with locating them and keeping them under wraps.”
Now 4-1, Holcomb faces an athletic Southwestern Heights team Tuesday at home, and the matchups are pretty equal, so it should be a good game, with both teams with just one loss each, Novack said.
Goodland 9 3 14 6 — 33
Holcomb 12 17 22 13 — 64
Goodland (2-4) — Lazaro 1 0-0 2, Gage Ihrig 5 2-3 15, Gannon Ihrig 3 4-5 10, Helton 2 2-2 6. Totals 11-37 8-10 33.
Holcomb (4-1) — LaSalle 8 0-0 19, Hernandez 5 0-0 10, Cox 3 1-2 9, Richmeier 3 0-0 8, Bennett 7 0-2 14, Ramsey 1 0-0 2, Sleep 1 0-0 2. Totals 28-62 1-4 64.
3-pt. goals — Goodland 3-16 (Gage Ihrig 3), Holcomb 7-15 (LaSalle 3, Cox 2, Richmeier 2). Rebounds — Goodland 18 (Lazara 5, Helton 5), Holcomb 32 (Bennett 9). Turnovers — Goodland 15, Holcomb 7. Fouled out — none. Total fouls — Goodland 8, Holcomb 13.