HOLCOMB — The opening round of the Clarion Classic started well for the Holcomb girls, but cold shooting combined with turnovers sent the Longhorns to their second loss to start the season as they fell to Palmer Ridge, Colo., 46-31 Thursday night.
Holcomb won the first quarter 9-6, a battle of making the fewest turnovers (11 for Palmer Ridge to Holcomb’s eight) with the ‘Horns shooting 2 for 10 and the Bears just 1 for 7 from the floor.
That changed in the second, however, as Palmer Ridge found its range, riding a 16-5 quarter (7-for-12 shooting) to a 22-14 halftime lead.
The Bears extended that lead by six on free throws before Holcomb’s Madi Ruda converted a short jumper at 3:25 in the third, the ‘Horns’ first field goal since 5:06 in the second quarter.
Holcomb might have regretted not taking more advantage of the Bears in the third as Palmer Ridge turned the ball over 11 times on 14 possessions, but the ‘Horns hit just 2-of-12 shots, with the Bears not even attempting a shot the entire quarter.
Palmer Ridge righted that ship in the final period, hitting seven shots, outscoring Holcomb 18-12 to pull away.
Eden Bonser led Palmer Ridge with 20 points.
Holcomb’s leading scorers were Lauren Jones and Ruda with six points each.
Despite not attempting a shot in the third, the Bears finished 16 of 34 from the floor and 11 of 13 from the line.
Holcomb was 10 of 41 from the floor and just 8 of 17 from the line.
The ‘Horns out-boarded the Bears 29-17, with the guest committing 37 turnovers to Holcomb’s 34.
Holcomb coach Nathan Novack was not happy with his team’s errors but was proud of the team defense.
“I praise the defense. they got (the Bears) into some tough situations,” he said. “That’s something we should be doing and we take pride that.”
On the other end, there’s room for improvement.
“We were tight offensively,” Novack said. “It showed, and we were making silly mistakes, and the girls admitted to it.”
His team rushed shots and too many fell short until the final four minutes, he added,
“But we had a strong start, and a lot of that’s a credit to our defense,” Novack said. “They weren’t ready for that. We’ve got to use that to our advantage.”
Holcomb will get a chance to show that defense tonight when the host Dumas in round two of the Classic.