By The Telegram

Pueblo East 72, Holcomb 70

A young Holcomb team keeps facing challenges every night.

Friday they ran up against a fundamentally skilled team in the Pueblo East Eagles, and a fourth-quarter comeback attempt came up short as the Longhorns fell 72-70 in the second round of the Southwest Classic.

Holcomb coach Chad Novack said the game was close throughout, with his team down by 10 at the end of the third.

"We started hitting some shots. We ran a full-court man press to give us extra opportunities on the offensive end," he said of the rally.

It just wasn't enough.

Heath Tucker led the Longhorns with 22 points.

Trey Sleep added 19 and Dalton Gottschalk 15.

Holcomb actually hit more field goals than East. Both hit 22 times from regular range and the Longhorns had four more threes.

The difference was at the free-throw line, where the Eagles hit 19-of-31 shots, while Holcomb went to the line just eight times, converting five.

While he was disappointed in the close loss, Novack said his team showed what they're made of again.

In their previous games, Holcomb has started out sluggish then come back strong. Friday they started out faster.

"Defensively we were sluggish, though," he added, "but we finally picked up the intensity."

Dylan Gavin was 9 of 12 from the field and hit a trio of threes, finishing with 28 points to lead the Eagles.

TJ Gradisar pumped in 25.

"Defensively it was a great test for us. Pueblo East is a very good ball club, fundamentally sound," he said. "Our problem was not being the aggressor on the offensive end."

Holcomb will close out the tournament with a matchup against Wichita Trinity. That game is scheduled for approximately 6 p.m. today.


Pueblo East--Fesmire 1 0-0 2, Jara 2 3-4 7, Gradisar 8 8-15 25, Armijo 0 2-4 2, Gavin 11 4-4 28, Gutierrez 0 1-2 1, Valdez 3 1-3 7. Totals 25-44 19-31 72.

Holcomb--Gottschalk 6 1-3 15, Tucker 8 4-4 22, Sleep 9 0-0 19, Rupp 1 0-0 3, Richmeier 2 0-1 5, VanCleave 3 0-0 6. Totals 29-55 5-8 70.

Holcomb rebounds--26 (Gottschalk 8, Sleep 7).

Holcomb 82, Pueblo East 58

Coaches preach shooting free throws for a reason.

It's a sermon the Holcomb girls will remember for a long time.

The Lady Longhorns converted 37 of 47 attempts from the line to defeat Pueblo East 82-58 to stay undefeated this season.

Three Lady Eagles players fouled out in what became a very long game.

Holcomb was up 38-30 after being tied at 16 at the end of the first period.

East cut that to 52-46 at the next break, but Holcomb outscored the Lady Eagles 30-12 to get what looked like a blowout but was anything but that.

Both teams hit 24 field goals, and both hit three threes, but it was at the foul line that Holcomb appeared to live for much of the night.

While they hit 37 free throws, East was just 7 of 12.

Holcomb coach Kenton Tennal said his team would build a double-digit lead then Pueblo would cut it to four.

But in the second half, Kilee Amos got 13 of her 18 points.

Jordan Jarnagin was 6 of 6 from the line in the final period on her way to 13 points.

And Taylor Deniston scored 15 of her game-high 23 points in the final period.

Haley Heydman led all scorers with 25 points, doing most of her work in the first half.

"We switched offenses and started killing them with it," Tennal said. "We finally finished shots tonight. We did a pretty good job in the second half of not fouling."

Tennal said his team attacked the basket all night, getting East's 6-1 Kassidi Day in foul trouble in the first minute, forcing her to sit the rest of the half.

Holcomb will look to continue its winning ways today when the Longhorns take on Wichita Trinity at 4 p.m.


Pueblo East 16 14 16 12 -- 58

Holcomb 16 22 14 30 -- 82

Pueblo East--Laughlin 2 0-0 6, Horvat 1 1-1 3, Winston 5 0-0 10, Albo 5 0-0 11, Dy 6 0-0 12, Padula 1 4-6 6, Minich 2 2-4 6, Richard 0 0-1 0, Simony 2 0-0 4. Totals 24 7-12 58.

Holcomb--Ratliff 1 1-2 3, Jarnagin 2 9-10 13, Heydman 7 11-14 25, Deniston 6 11-12 23, Amos 5 5-9 18. Totals 24 37-47 82.

Fouled out--Pueblo East (Horvat, Day, Minich).