By KEVIN THOMPSON
HOLCOMB — The best way to file off the rust from something that hasn't seen any use in a while is to find a whetstone that can sharpen and shine pretty much anything.
Holcomb coach Scott Stegman found just the tool for his Longhorn basketball team, which had not played in 14 days — a resounding 74-40 win over the Mustangs of Southwestern Heights on homecoming nights.
"You never know how you're going to look after a two-week period like that, but I thought we came out and executed and took care of the ball and got some good shots," he said. "We were a little rusty, but all-in-all, I thought we played pretty well."
"Pretty well" means seeing all 12 players see some action, 10 of them scoring, holding their opponent to just one player in double figures (Ben Johnsrud had 13) and generally looking like a team that had not missed a beat.
Kyle Walck led the Holcomb offense with 16 points, while Nolan Gaede added 14, and Aaron Hernandez, 12.
Offensively, Holcomb hit 53 percent of its field goals, committed just 11 turnovers and grabbed 35 rebounds.
Defensivley, the Longhorns were even better as they held the Mustangs to just 35 total shots, caused 24 turnovers and held them to just 11 rebounds.
In short, it was a good night to be a Longhorn.
"We got a lot of looks off our press. We got a lot of benefits from that," Stegman said. "We pretty much took care of the boards. Every time you get those second and third shots, that just makes the night easier."
Holcomb broke the game open early. Halfway into the first quarter, the Longhorns had built a 13-6 lead as all five starters scored.
Walck scored six of his team's final eight points to give them a 21-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Holcomb scored seven straight points to open the second period and the Longhorns outscored the Mustangs 20-11 to go up 41-22 by halftime, ending at the buzzer with a Heath Tucker steal to Shane Bennett for the buzzer basket.
Holcomb spent the next quarter working the ball inside and honing its transition game. Seven Longhorns accounted for 22 points that quarter while the defense held Heights to just four baskets and a pair of free throws.
Walck scored six of his points in the final quarter, a running-clock period. Of Heights' seven shots in that quarter, six were three-pointers, and only two found their mark.
The 74 points is 16 points above the Longhorns' season average of 58 while the 40 points allowed is 12 below the season average of 52.
And at 10-6, Stegman was happy with his team's performance, especially with some tough games coming up heading towardsub-state.
"It's time to think, 'If you haven't got it by now, it's time to get it,'" he said. "We're brushing up on a few things getting ready for post-season, but it's a ways away yet. We've got four more games, and they're very, very important games."
Those upcoming games are all Great Western Activities Conferences games, which includes the dominant Scott City Beavers at home next Friday. But for now, Stegman has a good feeling heading into the rest of the season.
SW Heights 11 11 10 8 -- 40
Holcom 21 20 22 11 -- 74
Heights — Herrera 3 2-2 7, Johnsrud 5 2-4 13, Worsham 2 0-0 5, Chase 3 0-1 6, Dutton 1 1-2 3, Eakes 1 0-1 2, Abla 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 5-10 40.
Holcomb — Singhisen 4 1-3 9, LaSalle 3 0-0 7, Hernandez 5 0-0 10, Homer 1 0-0 2, Gaede 5 4-5 14, Galliart 1 0-0 2, Walck 5 5-6 16, Thomas 1 0-0 2, Tucker 1 0-0 3, Bennett 2 0-1 4, Ramsey 0 0-2 0. Totals 28 10-17 74.
3-point goals — Heights 3 (Herrera 1, Johnsrud 1, Worsham 1), Holcomb 3 (LaSalle 1, Walck 1, Tucker 1). Rebounds — Heights 11 (Herrera 4), Holcomb 35 (LaSalle 6, Gaede 5). Turnovers — Heights 24, Holcomb 11.