By KEVIN THOMPSON
HOLCOMB — Using all your weapons to defeat a tough opponent is essential to winning battles.
More speed. More size. More experience.
It's how the Ulysses Tigers defeated Holcomb 59-54 in Great Western Activities Conference play on Tuesday night at Holcomb High gym.
For Holcomb, it was the final regular season game, while the Tigers still have one to play.
For both, it didn't change sub-state seedings, but it meant a lot for momentum going into the postseason.
After leading just 13-10 at the end of the first quarter, Ulysses seemed poised to take a huge lead in the second.
The Tigers went up 23-14 when Josh Jarnagin took a sideline inbounds lob pass for an alley oop play called "K-State." Then he hit a jumper at 3:54 for the Tigers' 27th and final point for the rest of the half.
Then Holcomb began its comeback, closing to within three at the half before tying it when Nolan Gaede hit a three to open the third quarter.
Ulysses built its lead back to 34-27 when Brendan Thomas nailed back-to-back three's to get Holcomb within one.
Ulysses' Chase Newell hit a pair of treys himself around a Chris Oliver field goal, and Kyle Zerr converted a layup off a steal to widen the gap to 11.
The Tigers extended that lead to 14 on an Oliver alley oop from Braden Langston.
Seniors Logan Singhisen and Nolan Gaede took over for the Longhorns, scoring the team's next 12 points and closing to within four.
Forced to foul in the final 1:48, Holcomb made a final run.
Gaede hit a pair of free throws, then stole the inbounds pass and hit a layup get his team within four again.
Tyler LaSalle's three with 21 seconds left gave Holcomb its final points, but it wasn't enough.
Ulysses shot 65 percent from two-point range (17-of-26) but only hit 3-of-15 from beyond the 3-point arc. Holcomb shot 40 percent from the field overall.
Tigers coach Jason Jones was happy to get the win.
"We're finally hitting our stride at the right time," he said. At 11-8, his Tigers are the No. 2 seed in the Class 4A sub-state and likely will host Colby on Monday night.
Size and speed, keys in Tuesday's win, will be keys in the postseason, Jones said.
"We played really hard tonight," he said. "We have to take advantage of that."
Having only two players in double figures (Oliver 14, Jarnagin 11) concerns him very little, Jones said. Eight players scored Tuesday.
"Most teams have a 20-point-a-night guy you have to shut down," Jones said. "We're not like that. We can get contributions from nine or 10 guys. Hopefully that will make us tough to scout and tough to handle."
On the other side, Holcomb coach Scott Stegman was pleased with his team's effort but disappointed with the loss.
"I give credit to the boys. They never gave up," Stegman said. "They kept fighting, scratching, clawing."
But he admits that three games in five days, including illness for a couple of his players, may have taken its toll on his team.
"We wanted to win. We step on the court and want to win the game. We want to get ready for (3A) sub-state," Stegman said.
Three players, including two starters, missed Monday's game at Hugoton. One player missed Tuesday's game, and five of them were coughing and having difficulty with normal breathing, he explained.
The good thing is, the Longhorns (12-8) get to host a first round and are a No. 3 seed next week, and playing at home is always a great advantage, Stegman said.
Fittingly, seniors led the Longhorns in scoring on senior night.
Singhisen scored 21 points and Gaede 16 to lead their scoring.
Ulysses 13 14 17 15 -- 59
Holcomb 10 14 11 19 -- 54
Ulysses — Newell 2 3-4 9, Langston 2 1-2 6, Porras 1 2-2 4, Kissell 2 4-4 8, Zerr 3 0-0 6, Jarnagin 4 3-5 11, Moore 1 0-0 2, Oliver 5 4-6 14. Totals 22 16-23 59.
Holcomb — Singhisen 8 5-5 21, LaSalle 1 0-0 3, Hernandez 1 0-0 2, Homer 1 2-2 4, Gaede 6 3-6 16, Walck 1 0-0 2, Thomas 2 0-0 6. Totals 20 10-13 54.
3-point goals — Ulysses 3 (Newell 2, Langston 1), Holcomb 4 (LaSalle 1, Gaede 1, Thomas 2).