The South Nodaway Longhorns girls basketball team kicked off its season hosting the King City Wildkats Tuesday in Barnard.

The Longhorns demonstrated superb defense, but were unable to transition that into baskets at the other end of the court in their 32-26 loss to start the season 0-1.

“I thought our defense did great tonight,” South Nodaway coach Aaron Murphy said. “We out rebounded them by a ton tonight, we just have to be more patient with our own possessions.”

Murphy mentioned that half-hearted shots by his offense can’t happen in their slow-paced operation they plan to run this season.

“We’re running a much different offense than we’re accustomed to,” he said. “We’re going to have to make every shot count, and that means being patient.”

Shots by Alex Buckles and Hannah Wilmes boosted the Longhorns to an early lead, but back-to-back shots in the closing seconds reversed the lead in the Wildkats' favor for a 9-6 edge over the Longhorns into the second quarter.

A back-and-forth second quarter fell into South Nodaway’s favor as baskets by Buckles, Wilmes and Kaylin LaMaster led the Longhorns to a 14-12 lead into halftime.

In the third it was LaMaster’s five points early in the quarter that kept the Longhorns paced with the Wildkats. South Nodaway found shots but couldn’t make them fall in the second half of the quarter as King City jumped back on top with a 23-21 lead into the fourth quarter.

Buckles tied the game at 23-all in the opening seconds, but a mid-quarter surge by the Wildkats carried the advantage into the closing minute of the game where South Nodaway was forced to get into foul trouble to slow the clock. That allowed King City to open the gap for the 32-26 win.

Wilmes led the team with nine points followed by Buckles with eight, LaMaster with six, Elizabeth Turpin with two and Miya Wiederholt with one point.

Murphy said his team learned a lot from its first game, and hopes they can adjust over the holiday break in order to improve before the start of the Platte Valley Invitational. The Longhorns begin the tournament Nov. 27 against Union Star at 5:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Christian.