SCOTT CITY — Despite its 5-1 record, the Scott City girls had been struggling of late to put the ball in the basket.
That streak continued Tuesday — for just one quarter.
Hosting Holcomb in a conference matchup, the Beavers, down 9-4 after one period, exploded for 45 points in the next two quarters to dispatch the Longhorns, 56-32.
After what had been two previous frustrating games scoring-wise (albeit wins), Scott City used a pressure defense and a distinct height advantage to pull away midway into the second period.
Bailey Latta got things started with a three-pointer to pull her team to within two points, then three consecutive steals turned into six straight points and the lead.
Macie Price, who was scoreless in Friday’s overtime win in Ulysses, scored the first two buckets in that series, with Latta getting the third.
When the intermission horn went off, it was the Beavers with a 24-14 lead.
After Holcomb opened the third with a pair of field goals, Scott City scored on four straight possessions to go up 32-18.
Two possessions later, they started a six-possession scoring streak to put the game out of reach.
Four Beavers scored in double figures, with Price’s 14 points leading the way.
Kaitlyn Roberts, with a trio of treys, had 11 points along with Latta, and Emily Weathers had 10.
For Scott City coach Sarah McCormick, the offensive output and defensive shutdown were very welcome, especially following an empty opening period.
“I felt like everyone was able to contribute,” she said. “Sometimes it was just our posts. Sometimes it was the guards. I felt like it was a team effort, and that’s what I’ve been looking for.”
The pressure defense was not impactful in the opening minutes, but McCormick figured if one didn’t work, try something else.
“We have a couple of different presses,” she said. “I’m pretty stubborn, but I’m not too stubborn where I’m not willing to try something else.”
Whatever adjustment they made, it worked.
When the offense struggled early, the defense stepped up and that seemed to settle the Beavers, McCormick said.
The Beavers had fewer turnovers (16-22) and more rebounds (27-26), contributing factors in the win, she added.
For Holcomb coach Nathan Novack, it was tough to find answers after his team started so well and then sputtered.
Holcomb had a 9-3 lead less than five minutes into the game, and then the offense stalled.
“We had momentum, obviously, then they took the timeout,” he said. “After that, they intensified their pressure. Once they took momentum, we didn’t propel against it. It’s almost like we allowed it.”
Holcomb went scoreless after that, a drought lasting well over eight minutes as the turnovers piled up and the Beavers' height started blocking shots.
The Scott City pressure caused “silly mistakes” from his girls, Novack said.
“And when it gets that bad, it’s hard to switch their mindset,” he said. “We had spurts. The first four minutes were solid, but the next 28 minutes were hit-and-miss.”
It didn’t help that floor leader Eboni Sapien picked up two quick fouls and had to sit most of the first half, and then sat most of the second half after picking up her fourth early in the third.
Chesney McVey was Holcomb’s leading scorer with just six points.
Not a lot of time to dwell on the negative for Holcomb (3-4), though, as the Longhorns travel to Colby Friday and then play the tough Hillsboro tournament next week.
Scott City (6-1) hopes to continue the momentum as the Beavers head to Hugoton Friday and a tournament in Colby next week.