Top ranked Elizabethton soundly beats JCHS girls
The Lady Longhorn’s basketball team held their heads high and gave it their all against the topped ranked Elizabethton Lady Cyclones Thursday night. Even with significant differences in depth and experience Johnson County was steadfast down through the final play. With a grim determination, players like Brooke Brown, Kourtney Tolley, and Michala Cretsinger gave it their all. By the end of the night every player in the line up, including newcomer Mackenzie Bauer, had exhausted themselves on the court, but it was still not enough to overcome the phenomenal athleticism of the Lady Cyclones.
Throwing themselves into the fray time and again, it was a true battle just to keep Elizabethton away from the goal, yet Johnson County did an amicable job defensively throughout the first half. Even toward the end of the second quarter the Lady Cyclones had only put up around 12 baskets, leading by a fairly manageable 26-10. A foul against Kelsey Duperry saw the gap close by one more free throw, while a couple of back to back buckets from Brown and sophomore Amanda Potter pushed the Lady Longhorns to 15. The game leveled out with Elizabethton remaining at 30 all the way down to the last play before the half when a final long range shot right at the buzzer closed out 15-33.
Cyclones Coach Len Dugger decided to bring in the big guns starting in the third, relying heavily on the Marosites twins who have helped propel the team offensively the past couple of seasons. As a result there was a noticeable shift in the game starting midway in the third. “We competed in the first half,” began Johnson County Head Coach Todd Whittemore, “and then I think Elizabethton’s superior athletes kicked in. First of all they did kill us on the boards. I don’t think we did a good job on the boards tonight and they definitely killed us in the second half.”
Amanda Potter kicked off the second half with two successful foul shots, but then the team went on a half quarter dry spell that was interrupted only once by a basket from Brooke Brown. The problem was that with all the added pressure from Elizabethton, Johnson County simply couldn’t hang onto the ball long enough to get it back down the court. Even when Elizabethton finished up a shot, the Lady Longhorns couldn’t gain the rebound. As a consequence the Cyclones jumped 12 points in a single three minute run where the ball never made it across half court.
Elizabethton’s drive carried on all the way to the fourth, where they had reached nearly 70 points to the Lady Longhorns 24. The game slowed back down in the final eight minutes but with so vast a distance between them, any hope of a victory was out the window. Even so, Johnson County never backed down. Time and again players like Kelsey Duperry or Gianna Lay would get knocked down or have the ball forcibly stolen only to rise up and give it another shot.
Like his players, Coach Whittemore admitted that the game was a less than enjoyable experience, but if nothing else was a true testament in sheer will. “It was hard to stand up and coach the whole game,” Whittemore said. “But if I don’t want the girls to quit and give up then I can’t do that either. Even when we’re down 50, I’ve still got to coach.”
Johnson County 26
Brooke Brown 15
Amanda Potter 7
Kourtney Tolley 3
Kelsey Duperry 1