Happy Valley defeats Lady Horns 47-36
By Jonathan PleasantThe Lady Longhorns were able to bounce back after their crushing defeat at the hands of the Sullivan South Lady Rebels, giving Happy Valley a real fight Monday night at home. Luck was not on Johnson County’s side, and with a couple of strong players out of the lineup, the already limited depth of the team became a true handicap. Yet even short on players, the final conclusion of the game didn’t happen until the last four minutes of the fourth quarter when Warriors’ Coach Larry Abel directed his team to start holding the ball with a four-point lead.
“They got on a good run and was gaining some momentum there starting at the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth,” Abel said. “We came out a little uptight in the fourth quarter and weren’t shooting the ball really well. It was still a close game so I pulled them out with that four-point lead and held it. They didn’t come to get me until late and when they did come to get me they fouled and made us some free throws. We started holding the ball to get them out of their zone but they didn’t pull out until the two-minute mark.”
Johnson County Coach Todd Whittemore agreed that the final outcome was determined by those last few plays and especially by a missed opportunity in Johnson County’s execution. “We got the ball back, called a timeout, and set up a play,” Whittemore said. “Brooke Brown couldn’t do everything. They were running a box and one on her so we set up some plays where other people had to touch the ball, but we couldn’t even get the ball in bounds. We tried to throw an in-bounds pass and it just melted out there. Not only do we get a turnover like we did the other night, but we turn it over and then they get the steal and score a layup. Those are the ones that kill you. So now were down six and we never recover. That was it. Down four, coming out of a timeout, it was a good opportunity to set up our press and who knows what happens, but we just turn it over.”
That last tough shortfall aside the game was actually a pretty good one for Johnson County. Brown managed to score 17 points in all, several of which were in the first half, and although the Lady Longhorns ultimately trailed a few points in the first two quarters they actually outscored the Lady Warriors in the third. Players like freshman Michala Cretsinger and Mackenzie Bauer held their own while the early game defense was aided considerably by sophomore Amanda Potter.
Lingering knee trouble following a surgery last year was made much worse as a pileup in the third quarter re-damaged the old wound, effectively taking Potter out of the game. Still, players like Kelsey Duperry and Kourtney Tolley did their best to fill in leading down to that last quarter opportunity to seize the lead. “Losing Potter obviously hurt,” said Coach Whittemore. “She had a girl fall on her knee and bend it backwards in the third quarter. Not having Gianna Lay for two games because she allowed herself to get an intentional and get ejected at Sullivan South also really hurt us tonight. Still, I thought we battled, we scrapped, and we competed.”
Had that last play gone differently, fans may have seen a much different outcome. Yet, according to Coach Abel it was ultimately how well Johnson County had been playing that made him try to force the game into that type of one play bottleneck, a tactic that worked but also showed Happy Valley’s concern about their chances player to player.
“Coach Whittemore does a great job and Coach Chambers knows our players really well,” Abel said. “He coached the girls last year so he knows our style, knows our kids. It’s always tough to come up here and play them. Every team that I’ve ever coached, it’s a hard place to get a win.”
Johnson County 36
Happy Valley 47
Brooke Brown 17
Michala Cretsinger 6
Mackenzie Bauer 4
Kourtney Tolley 4
Amanda Potter 4
Kelsey Duperry 1