Another tough one for 'Horns as they fall to defending champs.
By KEVIN THOMPSON
HOLCOMB — After an 0-3 start, the Holcomb Longhorns were looking for something to right their ship Friday night.
Unfortunately, they were facing Great West Activities Conference rival and defending 3A state champion Scott City, who look poised to make a title defense run this season.
Holcomb stayed with the Beavers until late in the second quarter, but Scott City proved to be too tough, taking this game 63-46.
Scott City took a 17-11 lead after the first quarter and built the lead to 11 before some uncharacteristic turnovers and Holcomb's offense combined for a comeback.
Heath Tucker's 3-pointer and his three straight assists, along with Aaron Hernandez's offensive stick-back, cut the Beaver lead to six.
Then, Scott City coach Glen O'Neil was called for a technical foul, and Hernandez hit a free throw to cut it to five. Joey Meyer's field goal with 17 seconds left, however, gave the Beavers a seven-point lead at the half.
That might have sparked the Beavers, who came out of the break and controlled the tempo. A slower quarter (14 combined points) got the Beavers back up by 11. A strong fourth quarter put the game away.
Brett O'Neil led all scorers with 19 points, including two 3-pointers. Meyer added 13 points, and Drew Kite 10 for the Beavers.
The Beavers shot 47 percent (20-of-43) and grabbed 29 rebounds.
"It was a gutty performance," O'Neil said of his team's win. "Holcomb is a tough team. They're looking for that first win. I'm just glad they didn't get it tonight."
Holcomb got within 10 points in the fourth quarter, but both times Scott City pulled away, including an 11-0 run in the middle of the quarter.
Holcomb (0-4) struggled from the field, shooting only 16-of-47 (34 percent).
The Longhorns' leading scorer was Tucker off the bench with nine points. Hernandez added eight points, while Shane Bennett and Max Ramsey combined for 13 points on the inside.
"We've had a pretty tough schedule so far, but I keep telling the boys it will only make us better," Holcomb coach Chad Novack said. "They're working hard. We just need to start thinking the game of basketball, and right now, we're not doing a good job of that."
The comeback in the second quarter was a sign of the team the Longhorns can be, he said.
"It shows they're resilient and working hard," Novack said. "It's the little things that we need to get after. Offensive execution — I've been saying since day one. And we didn't block out well tonight."
Scott City's tight pressure defense and quick-pass offense may have caused the Longhorns to panic at times, said Novack, who added that his team needs to learn to relax in those moments.
Tucker's performance, including the four assists in the first half, is the kind of spark Novack is looking for from other players.
"He's an explosive player. We just need to work on his consistency," Novack said. "Once we get all these guys to be consistent for four quarters, they can be a dangerous team."
Scott City (2-0) will travel to Wichita next weekend to play two games. They face Wichita Independent and Wichita Sunrise on back-to-back nights.
Holcomb will look for its first wins next week, traveling to Hugoton and Lakin.
Scott City 17 15 9 22 -- 63
Holcomb 10 14 5 16 -- 46
Scott City (63) — B. O'Neil 5 7-8 19, Wells 00 1-2 1, T. O'Neil 2 2-3 8, Robinson 1 2-2 4, Clinton 2 1-1 5, Hess 1 1-2 3, Wilson 0 0-2 0, Meyer 5 3-4 13, Kite 4 2-2 10. Totals 20 19-26 63.
Holcomb (46) — Cox 1 4-4 6, LaSalle 1 2-4 4, Hernandez 2 3-4 8, Homer 1 0-0 2, Tucker 3 1-2 9, Gilbert 1 0-0 2, Thomas 1 0-0 2, Bennett 2 3-5 7, Ramsey 3 0-0 6. Totals 15 13-19 46.
3-point goals--Scott City 4-12 (B. O'Neil 2, T. O'Neil 2). Holcomb 2-9 (Hernandez 1, Tucker 2). Rebounds--Scott City 29 (Kite 10), Holcomb 18 (Cox 4, Hernandez 4).
Fouls--Scott City 20, Holcomb 21. Fouled out--Holcomb (LaSalle, Homer, Tucker). Turnovers--Scott City 17, Holcomb 18.