By Brett Cady and Andres Rivas
If it was not the defense lacking for the Holcomb Lady Longhorns, it was the offense on Monday night.
In a close game against the No. 4-seeded Riley County Lady Falcons, the No. 5 Longhorns lost a hard-fought, 51-46 first round matchup in the Trojan Classic hosted by Hillboro High School.
"We played hard, we played our butts off," Holcomb head girls coach Kenton Tennal said in a telephone interview after the game. "There were quite a few calls that didn't go our way. I think we had about 12 points on the court on calls that were called travels or unfinished layups."
The Lady Longhorns stayed up with the Lady Falcons for the majority of the game but, according to Tennal, had an offensive lull during the third quarter of the game as the Lady Longhorns were only able to score five points.
After the offense bogged down in the third quarter, the Lady Longhorn defense also experienced its own set of troubles in the final period, as well, giving up 21 to the opposing Lady Falcons.
"Offense in the third and defense in the fourth killed us," Tennal said. "It was just the second half. I thought the girls played hard; I couldn't fault their effort at all."
Holcomb's Taylor Deniston scored 17 points and went 4 of 4 on free throws to lead the Lady Longhorns in scoring.
"She attacked the basket really well," Tennal said. "She hit some tough jumpshots that she hit against the zone that were tough shots."
According to Tennal, the key to improving and winning the next game will be to keep up the pressure offensively.
"I think we've just got to keep attacking the basket, which we do a decent job of, but we've got to hit some shots," Tennal said. "If we hit one or two more 3s, then that's a completely different ball game."
Starting the game, both Holcomb and Riley Co. were 7-0 for the season. Holcomb will now enter its next game at 4:30 p.m. on Friday with a 7-1 record, when they will be playing the loser of today's 7:30 p.m. matchup of top-seeded Hillsboro (8-0) and No. 8 Republic County (2-6).
Holcomb (7-1)--Jarnigan 3 6-10 12, Heydman 5 3-4 14, Deniston 6 4-4 17, Amos 1 0-0 3. Totals 15 13-18 46.
Riley Co. (8-0)--Fargo 3 3-4 9, Thompson 6 3-5 16, Kult 3 1-1 7, Oliver 4 0-0 11, Kreuble 1 0-0 2, Frockish 3 0-1 6. Totals 20 7-11 51.
3-point goals--Holcomb 3 (Heydman, Deniston, Amos), Riley Co. 4 (Thompson, Oliver 3).
Holcomb boys 60, Thomas More Prep 43
The Holcomb Longhorns (8-1) defeated the Thomas More Prep Monarchs (3-5) Monday night 60-43 in the first round of the Trojan Classic tournament.
Head coach Chad Novack said he thought his third-seeded Longhorns played well in the opening night of the tournament, aside from a sluggish second quarter, against the sixth-seeded Monarchs.
"We came out pretty strong in the first quarter, did a lot of good things, then the second quarter we kind of got away from what we were doing in the first quarter and gave them a chance to get back in the game," Novack said in a telephone interview after the game. "Third and fourth quarter, we played pretty well for the most part."
The Longhorns' leading scorer was Heath Tucker with 22 points, and the offense was fluid.
"We executed our offense and got good shots," he said.
The Longhorns won their second game in a row, and fifth out of the last six, with the only loss coming at the hands of Class 3A powerhouse and three-time defending state champion Scott City Beavers.
The Longhorns will have to wait until Friday at 7:30 p.m. to play another game in the Trojan Classic. They will play the winner of No. 2 Hillsboro (7-1) and No. 7 Goodland (3-5) game, which tip off at 6 p.m tonight.
TMP will take on the loser of the aforementioned Hillsboro and Goodland game on Thursday.
4:30 p.m.--No. 4 Wamego vs. No. 5 Republic County
6 p.m.--No. 2 Hillsboro vs. No. 7 Goodland
4:30 p.m.--No. 1 Hillsboro vs. No. 8 Republic County
6 p.m.--No. 3 Hesston vs. No. 6 Goodland