By KEVIN THOMPSON
HOLCOMB — Coming off a holiday break, coaches wonder what impact that time off will have on their teams.
Holcomb's Chad Novack was pretty pleased with his Longhorns, as they took care of Colby 68-40 to remain unbeaten in the Great West Activities Conference.
Balanced scoring, good ball management and top effort were the keys for Holcomb.
Seven Longhorns scored, led by sophomore Blake Richmeier's 21 points, which included 5-for-6 shooting from 3-point land and 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.
Aaron Hernandez added 15, and Clay Gilbert, who just got cleared to play, scored two in limited playing time following a football injury.
That's a pretty good Christmas gift for Novack and the Longhorns.
Holcomb had little trouble penetrating Colby's defense both inside and out all evening as they took held commanding leads at the ends of all quarters.
For the night, the Longhorns were 23-of-43 from the field, including 9-of-15 (60 percent) from behind the arc.
"Offensively, for the layoff we had, we did a good job executing," Novack said. "We shared the ball, and shot the ball well. We did a good job of crashing the boards (Holcomb won that battle 25-14)."
No game is perfect, though, and Novack said his only concern with his team's defense at times, maybe due in part to tired legs from the layoff.
"And I think we were gambling a little too much, and let them get some backdoors (layups) on us," he said. "But for the first game back, the boys played pretty well."
Richmeier's performance was noteworthy, Novack said. He shot only six times — all threes — and found nothing but net on five of them.
"He's a good shooter and has been shooting consistent all year. Tonight the rim looked double the size," Novack said. "Credit our other guys giving him the ball when he's open."
The balanced scoring has made his team tough to guard all season, Novack added, and that played against Colby all night long.
Gilbert's return was good to see, Novack said. He'll work in more minutes over time to get ready for the long stretch.
Corey Roth will see his first action next week, and they're still waiting on the status of Heath Tucker.
Next up is conference foe Scott City at home Tuesday.
Colby 11 10 11 8 -- 40
Holcomb 19 17 18 14 -- 68
COLBY (40) — Cox 3 0-1 6, Winger 1 1-2 3, Kane 4 0-0 10, Meyers 1 0-2 2, Bremenkamp 6 1-2 13, Binder 3 0-0 6. Totals 18 2-7 40.
HOLCOMB (68) — LaSalle 2 2-2 7, Hernandez 6 2-3 15, Cox 3 1-2 9, Richmeier 5 6-6 21, Bennett 3 0-0 6, Ramsey 3 2-2 8, Gilbert 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 13-15 68.
3-pt. goals — Colby 2-12 (Kane 2), Holcomb 9-15 (LaSalle 1, Hernandez 1, Cox 2, Richmeier 5). Rebounds — Colby 13 (Bremenkamp 5), Holcomb 23 (Hernandez 5, Bennett 5, Ramsey 4). Turnovers — Colby 12, Holcomb 11. Fouled out — None. Total fouls — Colby 9, Holcomb 13.