By JORDAN SHAY
HOLCOMB — The first round of the Clarion Inn Southwest Classic kicked off Thursday night with a win for the Holcomb Lady Longhorns on their home court as they knocked off Pueblo East (Colo.) 69-49. In the Lady Longhorns' 2011 opener, it was a one-sided battle as they easily handled the Lady Eagles.
Holcomb's man-to-man pressure and full-court press forced Pueblo to make several turnovers — resulting in steals and easy points for the Lady 'Horns. Pueblo held their brief, and only, lead midway through the first quarter, sparked by eight early points by Chelby Santiago. A field goal by Holcomb junior guard Kyshia Prieto at 2:03 began a 7-0 scoring blitz to give Holcomb a 17-11 lead heading into the second period.
Pueblo's Santiago sat the bench in foul trouble for the majority of the second quarter, and Pueblo's scoring dried up with her departure from the game. Holcomb limited the Eagles to just five second-quarter points, which included a layup at the buzzer. The Lady Longhorns scored 17 points in the quarter to build a comfortable 34-16 lead at the half.
The Lady 'Horns extended their lead after intermission on back-to-back treys by Prieto to start the period. Pueblo continued to struggle with the man-to-man press and committed turnover after turnover.
"We have a lot of quickness and we play hard," said Holcomb coach Kelley Snodgrass. "That's why we are exploring the man press. We look to our three juniors (Prieto, Katie Pfeifer and Karissa Pena) for leadership, and they're doing an excellent job."
Sophomore Kylee Amos picked up six of her team-high 17 points in the third period to help with the Holcomb effort. Santiago finished with a game-high 29 points, for Pueblo East.
Holcomb improves to 1-0 for the season. They resume Classic action tonight at 6 p.m. when they host Del City, Okla. at the Holcomb High gym before facing Garden City at 5 p.m. on Saturday at Perryman Athletic Complex.
Pueblo East (49) Laughlin 1 0-0 2, Fresquez 2 1-2 5, Gutierrez 3 0-0 9, Arguello 1 2-2 4, Milvidor 0 0-4 0, Santiago 13 2-12 29. Totals 20 5-20 49. Holcomb (69) Pfeifer 3 2-4 11, Prieto 6 2-3 16, Heydman 1 2-2 6, Mongeau 2 0-0 4, Deniston 1 3-4 5, Amos 7 2-2 17, Pena 4 2-4 10. Totals 24 13-19 69.
Pueblo East 11 5 7 26 -- 49 Holcomb 17 17 17 18 -- 69