HOLCOMB — How good of a night was it for the Holcomb boys?
When Trey Gilbert hit a no-look reverse layup circus shot behind his head early in the second quarter, it was the proverbial handwriting on the wall.
The top team in Class 4A-II had a perfect formula to take out long-time rival Scott City Tuesday, dispensing of the Beavers, 68-40, shooting lights out, playing stifling defense and playing the inside-out game like they invented it.
The Longhorns missed their first shot of the game, and then connected on 10 straight in the opening quarter, taking a 25-9 lead.
A high-pressure defense forced the Beavers into five quick turnovers that Holcomb turned into 10 points. The 'Horns continued that streak, taking a 46-22 lead at the break, shooting 17 of 23 from the floor and holding the Beavers to just eight field goals, half of those from outside the arc.
By that time, Holcomb had forced eight Beaver turnovers to its two, and had a 13-4 edge on the boards.
Two minutes into the final period, the ‘Horns got a 30-point lead and a running clock on their way to the win.
Gilbert led all scorers with 20 points. Kobe Dickson had 16 and Devin Mader 10.
As a team, Holcomb was 28 of 38 from the floor (73.7 percent) as the Longhorns improved to 17-1 overall and 8-0 in the league.
“I thought our kids did a great job of overall execution on both sides of the floor,” Holcomb coach Chad Novack said. “Our kids really took a leadership role and just played basketball tonight. It was fun as a coach to see that.”
The hot shooting early, in concert with the high-pressure defense, made for a good show.
“We talked about doing a better job of getting in the passing lanes and mixing up our defenses,” Novack said. “When you mix up your defenses, you have to communicate and rotate, and I thought our kids did an outstanding job pretty much all night but really in that first half.”
Seven ‘Horns scored in the first period, six of those in the first six minutes as Holcomb took an 18-2 lead before Marshall Faurot hit a jumper four minutes after his Scott City team’s last field goal.
It was unselfish basketball, Novack said.
“They were flying around,” he said. “Our guys were looking for each other and moving without the ball well. They shared the ball well tonight, and that’s just a sign of the way this team plays together.”
Faurot finished with 13 points to lead the Beavers, including triple treys.
In fact, the Beavers connected on eight 3-pointers in the game and only seven 2-pointers.
Holcomb held leading scorer Jordan Horn to just eight points, a credit to a number of Holcomb defenders who always had a hand in his face or getting on his hip, Novack said.
“Just overall team defense was really good,” he said.
Scott City assistant coach Jordan Carter admitted that the Holcomb defense dictated the action.
“We turned into a little bit of rush just trying to force things, trying to do things individually instead of just moving the ball and getting shots we worked for,” he said.
With Holcomb shooting lights out, it started forcing Scott City into forcing shots, Carter said.
“It created a lot of bad shots for us when we don’t move the ball like we need to,” he said.
The game looked similar to when they played in January (a 67-41 Holcomb win).
“Give a lot of credit to Holcomb,” Carter said. “They put a lot of pressure on people, which forces teams out of their comfort zone.”
Scott City was just 15 of 37 from the field (8 of 14 behind the arc).
The Beavers fall to 9-9 (4-4 in the conference) and host Hugoton Friday night.
Holcomb will host Colby Friday on senior night, travel to Hugoton a week later, then host the sub-state tournament the following week.