ULYSSES — December wasn't exactly kind to the Scott City Beavers, but their first game in January might signal a positive turn.
Scott City had not played a game in 17 days, but perhaps the break came at a good time as they overcame Ulysses, 68-53, to improve to 3-3 for the season.
Scott City scored on seven straight possessions to open up a 60-42 lead in the final period to put the game away.
Jordan Horn led the Beavers with 25 points and Hunter Yager added 16 as eight Beavers got in the scoring column.
The Beavers used a 24-point first quarter that turned into a 37-26 halftime lead to even their record and send Ulysses to its third loss against five wins.
Scott City hit four threes and nine shots overall in the opening period to build the momentum, leading by as much as six twice late in the period, getting points from six different players.
The Beavers led by 14 midway into the second period, not scoring again until Yager hit a three at the buzzer.
Their scoring drought continued over the next eight minutes as they scored just six in the third quarter, but fortunately for them, so did the Tigers — and the final period mirrored the first as they cruised to the win.
Horn said they had a lot of time since mid-December to think about the direction the Beavers were headed, and he hopes this is a sign of good things to come.
"We got pumped for the game," he said. "We knew we had to come out and show (their fans) a good game. We've been struggling lately, so we knew we had to come out and get a win tonight."
The huge first quarter also helped.
"We've been out of our mojo a little bit, so being able to knock down some shots and everybody being in rhythm tonight was huge. I think it's going to build our confidence for the rest of the season," Horn said.
Coach Bryan Gentry was also feeling good after this win, especially after his team lost its last game to Garden City in the Roundball Classic in December.
"We looked like we were half asleep that whole game," he said. "They knew they had to step up. They knew this was going to be a good game against a good team. When shots fall, it tends to make everything look better."
Scott City shot 14 of 25 (56 percent) from the floor in the first half and finished 8 of 10 in the final period. They were 25 of 48 overall.
"We got going early, and the confidence builds from there," Gentry said. "I thought our guys did a fairly good job defensively, defensive rebounding, keeping them from second- and third-chance points. We executed what we were supposed to fairly well."
Ulysses didn't get a second-chance opportunity until the third period, and only had three overall.
"That's what they're capable of doing when they play in rhythm and on balance," Gentry added.
Scott City (3-3) will host Holcomb Tuesday.
For Ulysses, Jaidon Taylor led with 18 points, with 15 of those coming in the final quarter.
Bryan Garcia had 15 but left in the fourth period with an ankle issue. Devin Walker had 11 and nine rebounds, but he was out much of the first half with two fouls.
When the 6-foot-8 Walker sat, the rebounding game changed, Ulysses coach Chris Wagner said.
"We've had Devin in foul trouble a couple games this year, and you can certainly tell the difference on the rebounds," he said. "He controls the middle of the floor pretty well. His presence is definitely felt."
Offensively, the Tigers had great shots in the first half, even in the third quarter, but they just wouldn't drop, Wagner said.
"We just didn't execute," he said. "But defensively, we allowed 68 points, and you're putting an awful lot of pressure on your offense when you're giving up 68 points in a regulation game. We've got to step it up defensively."
That is the challenge Wagner left with his team after the loss.
"We've kind of plateaued right now. We're not getting really better," he said. "We need to start progressing on our defensive side and just get it going."
Ulysses (5-3) will have that chance Tuesday when the Tigers host Hugoton and then travel to Goodland Friday.