Holcomb girls basketball team claims first Bootheel Conference regular-season title (conference tournament schedule included)

Photo by Dustin Ward, staff
Holcomb junior Kelsi Tucker launches a 3-pointer in a varsity girls basketball game earlier this season.

The Holcomb Hornets varsity girls basketball team established high exceptions for itself before the start of the 2019-20 season.

“We sat down and wrote down a bunch of goals we wanted to achieve before the season started,” Holcomb coach Alexa Stockton said. “We’ve achieved some of our goals and not achieved others. But one of our goals was to win the regular-season Bootheel Conference championship.”

Holcomb perfected the feat for the first time in school history Tuesday night. Holcomb finished Bootheel Conference regular-season play 7-0 and won the regular-season conference title outright when it edged Caruthersville 49-46.

“Our program has never won the regular-season conference title before,” Stockton said. “So it’s a big thing for our girls to be the first group to do it. They want to make history every chance they get.”

Holcomb’s final conference game at Caruthersville proved to be its closest of the season. Caruthersville jumped out to a 15-5 lead after one quarter of play. Holcomb managed to win the second quarter by seven points and third quarter by nine points to move ahead six by the start of the fourth quarter and hung on for the win.

“Last night’s game was very tough,” Stockton said. “You could tell we were a little nervous and had a little extra pressure on us because it was our last conference game and one of our goals was to go undefeated in the conference. We were behind most of the first half but found a way to move ahead in the third quarter and get out of Caruthersville with a win.”

Holcomb will turn its attention to next week’s Bootheel Conference Tournament after taking a rare day off on Wednesday.

“I really don’t like to give my girls very many days off because I feel like it kind of gets us out of our groove,” Stockton said Wednesday afternoon. “We don’t do well with things that are out of the ordinary. But we are taking Wednesday off so everyone can recoup from playing the last two nights. We will come back and work hard on Thursday and Friday in practice and come back Sunday afternoon and prepare for South Pemiscot."

All four varsity girls quarterfinals are slated to take place Monday at South Pemiscot High School. No. 1 seeded Holcomb plays No. 8 seeded South Pemiscot Monday at 3:30 p.m., No. 4 seeded Caruthersville plays No. 5 seeded Portageville Monday at 5 p.m., No. 2 seeded Malden plays No. 7 seeded Senath-Hornersville Monday at 6:45 p.m., and No. 3 seeded Hayti plays No. 6 seeded Campbell Monday at 8:30 p.m.

“We’ve been a little on edge every time we’ve played a conference game,” Stockton said. “The scary part of going into the conference tournament it wouldn’t be that shocking for anyone to win a first-round game because the margin between the teams is very small.”

The varsity girls semifinals are Feb. 4 at 3:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. and the varsity championship is Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. at South Pemiscot High School.

Stockton hopes her squad can find a way to cross another goal off of its checklist by the end of next week.

“Another one of our goals we established before the season started was to win the conference tournament,” Stockton said. “The girls know next week will be very difficult. But they are super excited about the challenge and want it really bad.”


QUARTERFINAL HEAD-TO-HEAD GLANCE

Note: A bracket for the tournament is available here: Bootheel Conference Varsity Girls Basketball Tournament Bracket

No. 1 Holcomb (12-6, 7-0) vs. No. 8 South Pemiscot (1-12, 1-6)

- Holcomb won at South Pemiscot 62-33 on Jan. 27

No. 4 Caruthersville (5-7, 3-4) vs. No. 5 Portageville (5-10, 3-4)

- Caruthersville won at Portageville 47-36 on Jan. 10

No. 2 Malden (8-9, 6-1) vs. No. 7 Senath-Hornersville (5-11, 1-6)

- Malden beat Senath-Hornersville 65-50 on Jan. 13

No. 3 Hayti (11-5, 5-2) vs. No. 6 Campbell (5-11, 2-5)

- Hayti won at Campbell 60-57 on Jan. 23

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