Experienced Beavers' late flurry enough to win

1/15/2014

By KEVIN THOMPSON

By KEVIN THOMPSON

sports@gctelegram.com

SCOTT CITY — The Scott City Beavers had won 11 straight games against Holcomb, with their last loss coming back on Jan. 27 of 2009.

But the rivalry is strong and the rankings hinted at a tough game.

Holcomb entered Tuesday's contest ranked fifth in Class 3A.

The winner of the last three Class 3A titles, the Beavers are currently ranked second in Class 4A-II.

But in the end, it was too much Scott City experience as they overcame a first-quarter deficit to run away from the Longhorns, 73-53, in a Great West Activities Conference game.

After trailing 15-7 in the opening period, Scott City fought back and took the lead 24-23 at the 4:57 mark of the second, and eventually went up 34-29 at the break.

It was all Beavers in the third period as the defense held Holcomb to just a field goal and six free throws, and the offense took a 47-37 lead.

Scott City started the second quarter scoring on six of its first seven possessions, but Holcomb's Trey Sleep scored six straight points to keep the game within two.

Then, both teams went nearly three minutes without scoring before the Beavers' late run, including a Trey O'Neil jumper at the buzzer.

Up 42-31 at the 5:47 mark in the third, Scott City went on a 4-minute scoring drought, but that was also when Holcomb's scoring woes kicked in.

And with Holcomb players in foul trouble, the final period became mostly a game at the stripe as the Beavers converted 13-of-17 free throws.

O'Neil led the Beavers with 21 points, while Brett Meyer added 18. Sloan Baker and Brayden Strine added 12 and 11, respectively, to give Scott City four players in double figures, something coach Glenn O'Neil was pleased to see.

O'Neil said their inside game is still a work in progress, which is why it was great to see Baker and Strine hitting from inside, as well as Meyer.

Coach O'Neil said trying to adjust to Holcomb's length on rebounds caused the Beavers problems early on, something that's hard to simulate in practice. But his team adjusted for the win.

Holcomb led in rebounds 28-21.

Holcomb is a quality program with good players, O'Neil added, and playing them would be tough, one of two toughest they've played all seasons.

"Two good teams — we knew one was going home with a loss tonight," he said. "We protected the home court. We still have them on their court, but we have a lot of things we need to work on to get better."

Holcomb coach Chad Novack saw his team perform about as well as they could in the first quarter, but the next three left some questions.

"We played solid defense and limited them to one shot. On the offensive side we ran our offense," he said. "Then the second, third and fourth quarters we didn't do that. We didn't run our offense and we didn't run a defense."

Pretty frustrating is how Novack described that 24-minute stretch.

Holcomb hit just three 3-pointers out of 17 attempts, and part of that was just trying to rush things, Novack said, instead of trying to look more inside.

"We got in a hurry and rushed things," he said. "It was uncharacteristic about the way we play."

Scott City executed the offense Novack expected; the Longhorns just didn't defend it well.

"We executed the game plan exactly the way we wanted that first quarter. The kids did a great job," he said. "But the moment Scott City made a run, we let that get to us and got rattled."

Trey Sleep led the Longhorns with 20 points, half from the free-throw line. Heath Tucker added 15, but he was held to just a pair of free throws in the second half.

Holcomb (6-2, 2-1) hosts conference rival Ulysses Friday before heading to Hillsboro for a tournament.

Scott City (5-1, 3-0) hosts conference foe Colby Friday before going to their tough tournament next week.

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Holcomb 19 10 8 16 -- 53

Scott City 15 19 13 26 -- 73

Holcomb (6-2, 2-1)--Gottschalk 2 0-1 4, Tucker 4 6-6 15, Sleep 5 10-14 20, Schmidt 3 0-1 6, Richmeier 3 0-0 8. Totals 17-52 16-22 53.

Scott City (5-1, 3-0)--Strine 3 5-9 11, Pounds 4 0-0 8, Hutchins 1 0-0 3, O'Neil 8 3-7 21, Meyer 4 10-12 18, Baker 5 2-3 12. Totals 25-41 20-31 73.

3-point goals--Holcomb 3-17 (Tucker, Richmeier 2), Scott City 3-14 (Hutchins, O'Neil 2). Rebounds--Holcomb 28 (Sleep 9), Scott City 23 (Meyer 6). Turnovers--Holcomb 10, Scott City 8. Fouled out--Gottschalk, Baker. Total fouls--Holcomb 27, Scott City 18. Technical fouls--Gotschalk, Baker.

Holcomb girls 62, Scott City 27

SCOTT CITY — In a battle of two teams headed in opposite directions for the moment, the Holcomb girls remained undefeated at 8-0 while handing the one-win Scott City team its fifth loss, 62-27.

If fans came to the game sometime in the second half, they would have thought it was a typical Holcomb girls game.

Holcomb used a trademark solid second half of shooting to make the win seem easy as the running clock rule went into effect in the fourth quarter.

But the win was not without its struggles from both sides.

The Lady Longhorns, currently ranked third in Class 3A, were up just 13-5 after a quarter. They also found the second quarter a challenge, going scoreless until the 2:22 mark when Haley Heydman hit a three-pointer followed by a basket off a turnover seven seconds later.

That and Jordan Jarnagin's pair of free throws with :30 left was all the scoring the Longhorns, averaging 67.7 points a game, could muster, as they led just 20-13 at the break.

Scott City, meanwhile, must have felt fortunate to still be in the game at halftime.

Bailey Nickel hit the Lady Beavers' first field goal attempt of the game at the 7:44 mark in the first quarter.

She hit the second field goal of the game at 4:16 in the second quarter, a drought of 11 minutes, 28 seconds between goals.

Holcomb came out in the third quarter with a 24-7 advantage as the Longhorns hit four 3's. They hit four more in the final quarter after making just one the entire first half.

Holcomb finished the game 24 of 55 from the floor (43.6 percent) after shooting just 8 of 26 in the first half.

Haley Heydman led Holcomb with 16 points.

Kylee Amos and Taylor Deniston each scored 15 after being held to two points each in the first half.

Deniston spent much of the first half on the bench with foul trouble, and coach Kenton Tennal said that affected his team but taught them something to use going forward.

"The second half was awesome. We realized you don't only have to shoot outside shots. You can get it in the post against a zone," he said. "Once you start getting it inside, it seems like the shots just start falling better."

And about those 20 points in the first half.

"You see what happens when Taylor's out of the game," Tennal explained. "Against a zone when Taylor's out, we have to pull Haley out of the post to play point guard."

This game, he said, was a big help in teaching his team how they need to play against a zone and emphasizes staying out of foul trouble.

Kelly Wycoff led Scott City with 11 points, but Bailey Nickel was held to just eight as she went just 3 for 17 from the floor.

As a team, the Beavers were just 9 of 42 (21 percent), though they did pull down 30 rebounds to Holcomb's 26.

Holcomb will host Ulysses in a conference matchup Friday before heading to a tough tournament in Hillsboro, where, at 8-0, they will be the No. 5 seed.

Scott City hosts Colby Friday before tournament action there next week.

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Holcomb 13 7 24 18 -- 62

Scott City 5 8 7 7 -- 27

Holcomb (8-0, 3-0)--Jarnagin 4 2-3 10, Heydman 6 2-2 16, Deniston 6 0-0- 15, Amos 6 0-0 15, Harrington 1 1-2 3, Sinoy 1 0-0 3. Totals 24-55 5-7 62.

Scott City (1-5, 0-3)-- Latta 1 1-2 3, Wilcoxson 1 0-0 2, Hawker 1 0-0 2, Campbell 0 1-2 1, Wykoff 3 5-9 11, Nickel 3 2-6 8. Totals 9-42 19 27.

3-point goals--Holcomb 9-23 (Heydman 2, Deniston 3, Amos 3, Sinoy), Scott City 0-7. Rebounds--Holcomb 26 (Jarnagin 8), Scott City 30 (Nickel 8). Turnovers--Holcomb 13, Scott City 25. Fouled out--none. Total fouls--Holcomb 13, Scott City 14.

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