By BRETT MARSHALL
If there's anything that new Holcomb girls basketball coach Kenton Tennal likes, it is fast-paced, pressure defense, and good shooting.
On Saturday night at Holcomb High School gym, Tennal got exactly that as the Lady Longhorns sprinted to a fast start, kept pouring it on and finished it off with a 75-57 victory over Denver South (2-3) on the final night of the Clarion Inn Southwest Classic.
The victory allowed the Lady Longhorns to go 3-0 in the Classic and are now 4-0 overall for the young season.
"I'm proud of the way the girls kept battling," Tennal said. "We're starting to come together and execute things better each game we play."
The Lady Longhorns jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first three minutes of the game and never looked in the rear-view mirror. It was 20-13 after the opening stanza and by halftime, thanks in part to Katie Pfeifer's 11 points, Holcomb was in control 39-22.
Pfeifer, a Telegram All-Area first team selection a year ago, had yet to have the hot-hand in the early season games, until Saturday night.
The diminutive 5-4 senior guard drilled five 3-pointers en route to a game-high 23 points. About the only thing the usually deadly shooter had problems with was her free throw effort (2-of-8), but that was about the only thing that didn't go right for her.
"We like to shoot, and coach Tennal likes for us to be good shooters," Pfeifer said. "We're learning our new offenses, and it is helping that the team is working really hard. We add in new plays all the time, and there's more than just one or two of us who can score."
Indeed, reserve Taylor Deniston had led the 'Horns in scoring in the previous two games, yet Saturday it was the three seniors who brought their sharpshooting touch to the court. Karissa Pena added in 17 points (8-of-13 field goals) while Kyshia Prieto was close behind with 14, including 7-of-9 at the free throw line.
"We haven't been shooting that bad, but we know we can do better," Pfeifer said.
The Lady 'Horns finished the night at just under 50 percent from the field (27-of-58) while South was a chilly 21-of-65 for just under 33 percent.
"We've gotta have the balance to be successful," Tennal said. "The girls are really starting to understand and pick up the things we're teaching and have been able to get out and run some. I think we're one of the best shooting teams in the state, and I think Katie is one of the best shooters in the state."
The Lady Longhorns stretched their halftime lead to 52-30 after three quarters and were never challenged.
For South, which lost two of its three games in the Classic, Nasha Bile and Naudia Sweets shared high-point honors with 19 points apiece. Kendra Martin produced a double-double for the Lady Rebels, with 11 points and 16 boards. Holcomb won the rebounding battle, 39-38, as Pfeifer, Prieto and Pena grabbed 7 each.
The Lady Longhorns (4-0) will next play at 6:30 p.m. Friday when they host Goodland in their Great West Activities Conference opening game.
Denver South 13 9 8 27 -- 57
Holcomb 20 19 13 23 -- 75
Denver South (57) --Bile 6-21 4-4 19, Moore 1-6 1-2 4, Giles 1-1 0-0 2, Kindell 1-3 0-0 2, Sweets 8-22 3-3 19, Martin 4-12 3-4 11. Totals 21-65 11-13 57.
Holcomb (75) — Pfeifer 8-12 2-8 23, Jarnagin 0-0 2-2 2, Prieto 3-8 7-9 14, Heydman 3-7 0-0 6, Deniston 4-12 0-0 9, Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Amos 1-6 2-2 4, Pena 8-13 1-1 17. Totals 27-58 14-22 75.
3-point goals--South 4-21 (Bile 3-13, Moore 1-3, Sweets 0-4, Martin 0-1), Holcomb 7-16 (Pfeifer 5-8, Prieto 1-1, Heydman 0-1, Deniston 1-4, Amos 0-2). Rebounds--South 38 (Martin 16), Holcomb 39 (Pfeifer, Prieto, Pena 7 each). Turnovers--South 20, Holcomb 18. Fouls--South 15, Holcomb 13. Fouled out--South (Martin). Technical foul--South bench (Coach).