By BRETT MARSHALL
LARNED — There's just something about playing a team three times in a season that doesn't always go according to plan.
The Scott City Beavers discovered that on Friday night when they struggled for three quarters before dispatching the Goodland Cowboys, 58-39, in the semifinals of the Class 3A sub-state tournament.
Saturday night, it was Holcomb's turn to attempt to break the stranglehold the Beavers had on Great West Athletic Conference teams this year.
Only this time, the Beavers got their high-octane offense in gear earlier, rolling at the outset of the second quarter en route to a convincing 70-44 victory over the Longhorns.
After leading by just one, 15-14, at the end of eight minutes, the Beavers were off and running. And they will be running all the way to the Hutchinson Sports Arena and a berth in the Class 3A state tourney.
As the No. 2 seed (22-1), the Beavers drew No. 7-seeded Riverton (13-8) in a 6:30 p.m. quarterfinal contest on Thursday.
Scott City and Holcomb had met twice earlier with the Beavers winning both, 74-49 and 66-32.
The score might have been worse had it not been for the 30-point continuous clock rule that went into effect after three quarters when the score was 66-34.
For senior Ron Baker, a trip to Hutchinson breaks a three-year roadblock in which his team had lost in the sub-state final each time.
"It's a great feeling to finally get to go to state," Baker said after finishing with 18 points and seven rebounds. "The monkey's off our back. It was a total team effort and that's what we've been about all year — we just try to play unselfishly."
After keeping the score close in the first quarter, Holcomb coach Scott Stegman saw an all-too familiar scene from two previous blowout losses to Scott City.
Pressure defense and non-stop Scott City fastbreak layups.
"I think we got a little impatient and they just speed you up," Stegman said. "You've got to get a good shot every possession or they make you pay for it. They take your misses and turn them into easy baskets. We knew what they would try but they're a great team and they did what they had to do."
By halftime, the Beavers held a 43-20 lead, and Stegman's team never made a run after that.
Following Friday night's wake-up call by playing what coach Glenn O'Neil called "the worst I've seen all season," the Beavers came out motivated against the familiar Longhorns.
"Anytime you play a team three times, there's always a chance for sketchy results," Baker said. "We played soft against Goodland and we knew the consequences if we didn't come out strong tonight. I think we just started rebounding better and got better in the second quarter."
O'Neil liked what he saw in his team's defense once their offense came to life in the second quarter.
"We turned the defense up and settled down on offense," O'Neil said. "Anytime you put pressure on yourself, and think you've got to get a blowout, you really just need to show up, try to have fun and relax out there. I thought we were much better at that tonight."
Baker's 18 points led a balanced attack as Brett O'Neil, followed with 15. Joey Meyer added 11 while sophomore Drew Kite chipped in with nine points to go with a game-high nine rebounds off the bench.
"Drew's done a good job on the boards and has done a great job for us in the minutes he's played," O'Neil said of the 6-4 sophomore.
Scott City blistered the nets to the tune of 58 percent field goal percentage (26-of-45) while the Longhorns only managed a 15-of-47 (31 percent) shooting night.
Holcomb finishes its season with a 14-9 record. Sophomore Tyler LaSalle led the way with nine points as Holcomb didn't have a player reach double figures in scoring.
Holcomb 14 6 14 10 -- 44
Scott City 15 28 23 4 -- 70
Holcomb (14-9) — Singhisen 3-5 2-5 8, LaSalle 3-11 0-0 9, Hernandez 1-2 1-2 3, Homer 0-0 1-2 1, Gaede 3-12 0-0 6, Galliart 0-1 0-0 0, Walck 1-6 2-2 4, Thomas 2-5 0-0 6, Tucker 0-1 0-0 0, Bennett 1-2 0-0 2, Ramsey 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 15-47 6-11 44.
Scott City (22-1) — O'Neil 6-10 1-2 15, Turner 1-3 0-2 2, Roemer 2-3 0-0 4, Baker 7-14 3-4 18, Robinson 3-7 1-3 7, Hess 1-1 0-0 2, Habiger 0-1 0-0 0, Meyer 3-3 5-5 11, Kite 3-3 3-3 9. Totals 26-45 13-19 70.
3-point goals — Holcomb 6-12 (Singhisen 1-1, LaSalle 3-5, Gaede 0-2, Galliart 0-1, Thomas 2-2, Tucker 0-1), Scott City 3-11 (O'Neil 2-5, Baker 1-4, Robinson 0-2). Rebounds — Holcomb 27 (Hernandez 5), Scott City 31 (Kite 9). Turnovers — Holcomb 14, Scott City 10. Fouls — Holcomb 15, Scott City 12. Fouled out — None.