SCOTT CITY — The atmosphere always seems electric when the Holcomb Longhorns travel to Scott City.
The visiting 'Horns, however, were able to overcome the environment and the host Beavers for a 67-41 conference win to improve to 7-1 for the season.
Kobe Dickson was a force inside with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Trey Gilbert finished with 17 points to lead the ‘Horns.
That dynamic duo combined for all 18 of Holcomb’s first-quarter points as they led 18-6 at the first break, and they led 27-9 with 3:30 to play in the second.
About the only let up of the game for them, though, came at the end of that period, when Scott City came back with an 11-4 finish to get within 10 at intermission.
But Holcomb returned from the break in an extra gear, hitting back-to-back treys (Zeke Leyva and Gilbert), and then scoring on seven straight possessions from the 6:13 mark on to take a 52-25 lead late in the period.
In that quarter, Dickson grabbed six boards and scored seven points to lead the Holcomb attack.
For the game, Holcomb was 25 of 44 from the floor (5 of 12 from beyond the arc) and 11 of 18 from the line.
Scott City, meanwhile, was just 18 of 48 from the floor as the Holcomb defense limited the Beavers to just seven second-chance opportunities.
Holcomb outrebounded the Beavers 31-17.
“The kids were really excited (following the game),” Holcomb head coach Chad Novack said. “That right there was an example of our team and how they play. They played as a team. They were happy for each other. They were just excited that they came in and played, for the most part, a pretty complete game.”
Kudos to his defense, he said.
“The defense was outstanding tonight ... we didn’t force a lot of turnovers (10) but we wanted to contest every shot and limit them to one shot and done,” Novack said. “Offensively, we just passed the ball so well. I thought our bigs posted extremely well, and our guards did a great job distributing the ball. And we played a little inside-out.”
Looking back, he said, the team energy was second-to-none this season.
“As a coach, that’s what makes you happy is the way they played together tonight,” Novack said.
Coming out after intermission with high intensity was key, too, he said. His team has done a good job jumping on teams early, but they haven’t really come out of the break with that same intensity.
“We challenged them at halftime to build on our lead, and putting our foot down on the throttle and keeping it there,” Novack said. “Our kids really took that challenge in the second half, and kept the momentum going and keeping the energy level up.”
That energy held the Beavers to one shot per trip until late in the third period, as they converted just a pair of field goals in 12 possessions.
Dickson’s performance was good to see, but not unexpected, Novack said.
“Each game we’ve started to see him become more and more aggressive and more confident,” he said. “Tonight, he did a great job of establishing his inside position and holding his ground. Defensively, he was amazing. It seemed like he got a hand on every shot attempt that went up.”
On the other side, Scott City coach Brian Gentry watched his team take a step backwards after a high-octane output last Friday in a win at Ulysses.
“Defensively, we didn’t put a body on anybody, it didn’t seem like,” he said. “When they have their size, they’re just reaching over our heads and taking it away from us.”
The Beavers (3-4) have a lot to learn from this game, Gentry said.
“We’ve got to be tougher. We’ve got to be more scrappy. We’ve got to get loose balls,” he said. “We’ve just got to do a better job defensively.”
Holcomb’s defense for most of the first half was tough for his team to figure out, Gentry said.
“That first half, we didn’t seem to know what we were doing,” he said. “We kind of went through the motions in the first half and they made us pay for it.”
Marshall Faurot had 12 points and Zach Carson 11 to pace the Beavers.
The Beavers will be on the road Friday at Hugoton and then at Colby for a tough tournament next week.
Holcomb (7-1) will travel to Colby Friday and head to the tough Hillsboro tournament next week.