By KEVIN THOMPSON

sports@gctelegram.com

HOLCOMB Color the first quarter "rusty" for both squads.

Then color the next two "red hot" for the Lady Longhorns as they played nearly flawless basketball in the mid-periods to put away Liberal 63-35 in both team's season openers.

Holcomb used a combination of veteran and young players to balance both sides of the ball, led by senior Breanna Gottschalk's 18 points and sophomore Kyshia Prieto's 10.

It's that combination of experience and young talent that coach Kelly Snodgrass got to see in action Friday, and for the most part, she liked what she saw.

After a lackluster opening quarter, Holcomb outscored Liberal 17-6 in the second and 21-11 in the third, shooting 50 percent while holding the Lady Redskins to just seven baskets.

The Holcomb defense had a lot to do with that. They forced Liberal to turn the ball over 18 times in the middle quarter, leading to a number of easy baskets off steals.

For the game, the Redskins had 39 turnovers, many in the backcourt as they were forced to run its offense from near mid-court.

When the press was working, Holcomb forced more turnovers.

For the night, Holcomb outscored Liberal 30-10 off turnovers.

And when they missed shots, rebounders were there with eager hands, pulling down 22 offensive boards.

"I'm proud of the girls' effort," Snodgrass said. "We gave ourselves a lot of second chances, which helps the shooting percentage."

First quarter and fourth quarter, though, the jitters seemed to get to her team and led to some complacency.

"We've got to work on that. We have to put four quarters together," she said.

Individually, Holcomb had some standout efforts.

Prieto missed all four shots she took in the first quarter, but she got on track as she connected for five buckets after that. She also dished out four assists.

Gottschalk had a hotter hand, hitting seven of her 11 shots, including four 3-pointers. She also had six boards.

"Kyshia will definitely be a spark for us," Snodgrass said. "She plays hard at all times and only makes us better."

Gottschalk played her usual game, she added.

"She's very, very versatile and hard to guard. She'll post up on you, and knock the three down," Snodgrass said.

Malory Komlofske, Karissa Pena and Amy Stegman all had eight points in a balanced scoring effort.

Holcomb shot only 4-of-20 the first quarter, then made five shots in the second quarter, many of them put-backs from offensive rebounds. For the game they shot 37 percent. Holcomb won the rebounding battle as well, 40-34.

------

Liberal 4 6 11 14 -- 35

Holcomb 10 17 21 15 -- 63

Liberal (0-1) Campbell 0 0-2 0, Ross 2 1-4 5, Hall 0 2-3 2, Chapman 4 0-2 8, Summer 2 1-7 5, Bayouth 4 1-1 9, Collins 0 0-1 0, Regalado 3 0-0 6. Totals 15 4-14 35.

Holcomb (1-0) Pfeifer 1 1-2 3, Prieto 5 0-2 10, Asmus 2 0-1 4, Gottschalk 7 4-6 18, Komlofske 2 4-5 8, Pena 4 0-1 8, Stegman 2 3-3 8, Landwehr 1 2-2 4. Totals 24 10-14 63.

3-point field goals Liberal 1-11 (Ross 1), Holcomb 5-12 (Gottschalk 4, Stegman 1). Rebounds Liberal 38 (Bayouth 12), Holcomb 40 (Gottschalk 6, Pena 6). Turnovers Liberal 39, Holcomb 21. Blocked shots Liberal 1, Holcomb 1. Assists Liberal 4, Holcomb 13 (Prieto 4). Steals Liberal 11 (Ross 4, Chapman 4), Holcomb 17 (Komlofske 4, Pena 4). Total fouls Liberal 16, Holcomb 19. Fouled out none.