Smoky boys ousted from state

By Steve Sell
March 08, 2017

EMPORIA — Holcomb couldn’t miss.

The Longhorns put on a stunning shooting display Wednesday afternoon at White Auditorium to deal the Smoky Valley boys a 65-45 setback in the first round of the Class 4A Division II State Tournament.

Holcomb, now 22-1 and the No. 2 seed, made 30 of 50 shots and took the game by the throat early by racing to a 22-6 first-quarter lead. It was 34-17 by the half.

Smoky waited too long to get started, scoring nearly half of its points (22) in the fourth quarter.

Jacob Adams, Brett Heitschmidt and Ross Schrag all scored 9 points for the Vikings, who were a respectable 5 of 13 from 3-point as they had a hard time getting the ball inside against the Longhorns’ length.

Conner Van Cleave, the smooth 6-7 operator, had 17 points to lead the Longhorns and he was matched by Trey Gilbert. Both were 8 of 12 from the field. 

Holcomb advances to play Topeka Hayden in Friday’s 4:45 p.m. semifinals.

Doug Schneider’s Vikings, making state a second straight year, finished with a 15-8 record. They return most of their team as there were just three seniors.