HOLCOMB — How sweet is a win?
Just ask Nathan Novack as he watched his Holcomb Longhorns pick up their first win of the young season with a 50-39 win over Wichita Trinity in the second round of the Clarion Inn Roundball Classic Friday night.
Ebonoi Sapien hit for 16 points and Darien Mader 10, while Taylor Sleep pulled down 10 rebounds to get the win.
Holcomb scored the game’s first eight points and the defense held the Knights scoreless during the first six minutes in taking an 8-4 lead at the first break.
Midway into the second, Holcomb held just a 13-10 lead, got to it to 17-10, and took a 23-17 lead into the halftime break.
That lead ballooned to 12 in the third and 15 in the fourth.
Exactly the opposite of what happened Thursday night when Holcomb let an 11-point lead in the fourth slip away for a five-point loss to Dumas, Tex.
Exactly what Novack was looking for.
“It teeter-tottered there for a little bit but we maintained usually an eight-point lead for most of the game,” he said. “It was on both ends. It wasn’t just our defensive end, it was on the offensive end, too.”
His girls became more patient than they did the previous night with a lead, creating more and better looks for good shots.
“It was a lot more balance,” Novack said.
As for maintaining and expanding the lead?
“A lot of it was we were rushing (Trinity) and forcing turnovers, getting steals, stuff like that,” he explained. “The difference (tonight) was we worked our offense more and got a better shot. We limited their touches on possessions.”
Holcomb pulled down 32 boards (13 offensive) to Trinity’s 36 (15 offensive), but they had fewer turnovers (18-22) and shot better from the line 10 of 17 to 7 of 18 for Trinity.
Despite being out-rebounded, Novack was very pleased with his team’s effort, especially Sleep’s performance.
“She’s very capable of doing things (like pulling down 10 rebounds,” he said. “She did that last year with double-digit rebounds. She was taking it personally today that she was wanting to get those rebounds and put herself in position to get them, a lot of times with authority.”
Having multiple double-digit scorers helped on offense, Novack said. Thursday they had 10 girls score. That all leans towards the offense being productive.
“It’s good to have that kind of balance,” he said.
Getting the first win of the season this quickly bodes positive for his team, Novack said, as his team gets set to take on Wichita Collegiate today at Garden City High School at 2:30 p.m.
“Having some confidence and seeing the excitement on the girls’ faces in the locker room, that’s what it’s all about,” he said.
Trinity’s Alex Bearup had 18 points to lead her team, including four 3-pointers.