Longhorns stampede Sullivan South Rebels 48-37

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Blake Atwood #11 completes a 3-point play against Sullivan South

By Tim Chambers

Johnson County had let a couple of late leads slip away in past games but that wasn’t the case on Tuesday. The Longhorns built a double-digit advantage in the third quarter and never looked back in a 48-37 victory over Sullivan South inside of a rowdy Ray Shoun Gymnasium.
The capacity crowd on homecoming night witnessed a defensive battle in the first half.
The Longhorns used a pair of treys by Sean Lewis and one from Nathan Arnold in the opening frame to help build an 11-7 lead. South would quickly erase that deficit to start the second quarter.
They opened the frame on a 5-0 run including Ryley Hall’s trifecta that allowed them to grab a 12-11 advantage.
Austin Houser provided a pair of buckets that surged the Horns back in front, then Bud Icenhour canned a three-ball that gave them a slim 18-15 cushion.
Both teams went the final three minutes without a field goal. Johnson County led 20-17 at the half.
The Longhorns used a gigantic third quarter that enabled them to build on their lead.
Houser and Jordan Edes got things started with a couple of baskets in the paint. A pair of three’s by Icenhour and an 18-foot jumper from Lewis stretched the margin to an even dozen at 33-21.
They managed to maintain a nine-point advantage heading into the final quarter and Blake Atwood made sure they were able to keep it.
The sophomore point guard bagged a couple of jumpers midway into the period and tossed in three charity tosses that would put it out of reach.
Johnson County led 47-35 with 4:27 remaining and then ran off nearly three minutes by holding the basketball, forcing South to foul.
Arnold’s length-of-the court inbounds pass to Atwood for a layup in the final minute would seal Johnson County’s first conference win of the season.
Atwood paced a well-balanced scoring attack with 11 points and five assists. Lewis added 10 points and Icenhour provided nine. Houser chipped in eight points and eight rebounds.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.

Lady Horns break losing streak; beat Sullivan South 50-48

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JC’s Courtney Brooks #5 had the game winning bucket against South.

By Tim Chambers

The Lady Longhorns finally found a sweet “oasis” after more than a two-year drought. Their 50-48 win over Sullivan South erased a bitter taste like the one experienced by the Israelites at the waters of Marah.
Several Lady Longhorns tossed a big stick into the pond that ended a losing streak that dated back to January 2014.
Head coach Thomas Wampler was overjoyed to finally be leaving the losing wilderness. Reaching the victors’ promised land had been a long journey.
“We had to find a way to pull it out because we had a 12-point lead at one time,” said Wampler. “It would be nice to close one out but we’re happy to end the streak. It was a great win for our kids because they now have something to show for all their hard work. I hope this is the first of a series of wins that shows the frisson of what we’ve been working on since Pittman and I took over the program last year. We’ve had some highs and some lows but we’ve steadily been getting better. I think that it’s starting to show in our play.”
The biggest contribution came from senior guard Michala Cretsinger. She finished the contest with 20 points, four assists, seven rebounds and three steals. Her 14 first half points including 12 in the second quarter allowed the Lady Longhorns to take a comfortable 32-24 halftime lead.
“It was a confidence booster because we all felt like we could win and end the streak at that point,” said Cretsinger. “I feel like this is going to carry over into our game on Friday at North. We thought we should have won at Unicoi and tonight we had that same attitude.  Everyone stepped up and did a great job. But we need to do a better job of closing out the game.”
Johnson County held a slim 10-8 lead after one. Cretsinger sank a deuce to start the second quarter and Brittany Brooks bombed a three-ball that ignited them, converting on their next three possessions down the floor.
Courtney Brooks had 10 points at the half including five that came at the foul line. The Longhorns were able to build a 10-point advantage at one point despite a clock malfunction that didn’t allow the score to be displayed.
But their 32-24 lead would vanish in the third quarter after South outscored them 14-6 in the frame.
Cretsinger upped their advantage to double-digits with a three-ball to start the period, but South would go on a 11-0 run in the final four minutes and hold the lead at 38-36.
Freshman Taylor Parsons’ basket on the inside tied the game at 38 all heading into the final stanza. It would turn into an old-fashioned donnybrook from that point.
Britain Peele broke the deadlock with a bucket in the paint that put them up 40-38. Brittany Brooks delivered a clutch three-ball with 3:39 remaining that increased their advantage at 45-43.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.

Junior Horns blast Happy Valley Warriors 39-21

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JC’s Clayton Cross races past three Warriors to get a loose ball.

By Tim Chambers

Not even a “super ball” could have bounced back on Monday like the Junior High Longhorns did. Johnson County disposed of Happy Valley 39-21 to take third place in the large district large class tournament played at Hampton Elementary School.
It was a totally different look from their previous game with Hampton where their offense was non-existent in the second half.
They jumped on top 11-5 after one, getting nine points from their leading scorer, Clayton Cross, and a late layup from Ian Norris.
Cross continued his dominant play in the second quarter with a quick bucket but had to leave the game after taking a hard fall. His absence didn’t affect the game as several others stepped up.
Ryan Morefield’s putback stretched their lead to 16-5, then Stacy Greer added five quick points that extended their advantage at 21-5. Clay Stanley and Ethan Bower would convert on baskets just before the half ended.
Johnson County led 26-6 at intermission after holding Happy Valley without a field goal.
It didn’t get much better for the Warriors in the second half.
Shaw called off the dogs early in the quarter but the Johnson County reserves played well.
Samuel Mann had a basket as did Ethan Bower. Trevor Wilson added a long three that kept them in front at 34-13 entering the final quarter.
Zack Workman made his presence felt by scoring nine points for the Warriors in the second half. Timmy Mounts added five but points didn’t come easy against the Longhorns’ stingy defense.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.

Katherine Lewis joins Tusculum cheerleading

Katherine Lewis.cmykKatherine Lewis from Unaka High School has signed with the Tusculum College Spirit Squad Cheerleading Team 2017-18. She is joined here by her brother, Sam, and parents, Travis and Christina Lewis.
She is the granddaughter of Jake and Arlene Lewis of Mountain City and Selma and Ennis Bowers of Elizabethton.
Tusculum College Spirit Squad is coached by Jessica Buxton-Inscore

Longhorns down Hampton Lady Dogs 29-26

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JCMS’ Sadie Stout #23 drive for a basket against Hampton

By Tim Chambers

Reaching the championship game was a tough task for Johnson County on Saturday, but the determined Longhorns “got ‘er gone” in Larry the Cable Guy fashion. They held off Hampton 29-26 to reach the title game after nearly blowing an11-point lead in the final quarter.
Much of that came due to their inability to make free throws. The Longhorns shot a dismal 7-for-26 from the line, but somehow found a way to win which pleased Head Coach Kechia Eller.
“This was the biggest game that most of these girls had ever played, so I think nerves might have played a factor,” said Eller. “Plus it was Hampton at Hampton and that’s another added dimension. I felt like we kept forcing shots in the fourth quarter that we didn’t need to take and fatigue I think hurt us at the foul line. But we made it to the championship game for the second time in a row so I’m very happy for all the girls.”
The Longhorns used baskets by Emmy Miller and Sadie Stout in the first quarter to build a 6-2 advantage.
Maddie Edington sparked the Horns in the second quarter by tossing in a half dozen. Stout added a three-point play, allowing the Horns to take a 17-6 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs made little noise in the third quarter and trailed 21-11 heading into the final frame. Suddenly they found their offense.
Miller had a deuce and Edington added a three-point play that pushed the lead back to 26-15 with 4:10 remaining.
Hampton got within six on baskets by Bridgette Heaton and Gracie Crumley with 1:59 remaining, but Stout would convert a layup on the other end that pushed it back to eight.
Heaton banked in a three-ball to make things interesting at the end, but the Lady Longhorns were able to survive and advance.
Stout led the Longhorns with 11 points. Edington added eight points and Miller contributed five. Sydni Potter and Rhiannon Icenhour scored a basket each.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.

Longhorns down Hampton Lady Dogs 29-26

By Tim Chambers

Reaching the championship game was a tough task for Johnson County on Saturday, but the determined Longhorns “got ‘er gone” in Larry the Cable Guy fashion. They held off Hampton 29-26 to reach the title game after nearly blowing an11-point lead in the final quarter.
Much of that came due to their inability to make free throws. The Longhorns shot a dismal 7-for-26 from the line, but somehow found a way to win which pleased Head Coach Kechia Eller.
“This was the biggest game that most of these girls had ever played, so I think nerves might have played a factor,” said Eller. “Plus it was Hampton at Hampton and that’s another added dimension. I felt like we kept forcing shots in the fourth quarter that we didn’t need to take and fatigue I think hurt us at the foul line. But we made it to the championship game for the second time in a row so I’m very happy for all the girls.”
The Longhorns used baskets by Emmy Miller and Sadie Stout in the first quarter to build a 6-2 advantage.
Maddie Edington sparked the Horns in the second quarter by tossing in a half dozen. Stout added a three-point play, allowing the Horns to take a 17-6 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs made little noise in the third quarter and trailed 21-11 heading into the final frame. Suddenly they found their offense.
Miller had a deuce and Edington added a three-point play that pushed the lead back to 26-15 with 4:10 remaining.
Hampton got within six on baskets by Bridgette Heaton and Gracie Crumley with 1:59 remaining, but Stout would convert a layup on the other end that pushed it back to eight.
Heaton banked in a three-ball to make things interesting at the end, but the Lady Longhorns were able to survive and advance.
Stout led the Longhorns with 11 points. Edington added eight points and Miller contributed five. Sydni Potter and Rhiannon Icenhour scored a basket each.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.

Hampton Bulldogs demolish Junior Horns 50-26

JCMS’ Ian Norris #12 goes for two.

JCMS’ Ian Norris #12 goes for two.

By Tim Chambers

The Morton’s salt slogan “when it rains it pours” was the perfect analysis for Friday’s semifinal game between Hampton and Johnson County in tournament play. The Dogs rained on JCMS’ championship hopes with an impressive 50-26 win on the Bulldogs’ home court.
The Longhorns had won the previous game by a lopsided margin but that was not the case on this night.
The game was a nip-and-tuck affair throughout the first half with neither team able to grab a lead larger than three points.
Hampton led 11-10 after the first quarter and 21-19 at the half.
From that point the separation began.
Hampton’s Connor Jones got things started with a deuce and Josh Owens converted a bucket in the paint. The Bulldogs held Johnson County to only two points in the quarter and led 30-21 going into the final frame.
The Longhorns’ offense continued to struggle in the fourth quarter. Mason Bragg’s three-ball ended a nine-minute drought that led to Hampton building up a sizeable 21-point advantage.
Nate Wilson opened up the final stanza with a runner, then followed that up with a three-point play that pushed their lead to 36-21.
Garrett Vines added a trio of free throws and a long trey. Isaiah McCoury contributed a pair of treys that added the finishing touches.
Clayton Cross scored 10 first half points that helped the Horns stay in the game but didn’t tally over the final two quarters.
The Longhorns scored only seven second-half points and five of those came in the final minute.
Trevor Gentry and Clay Stanley added four points each for the Horns. Stacy Greer ended the night with eight rebounds.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.

Lady Horns take down Sullivan North 44-41

JC’s Kaitlyn Nichols #24 boxes out a North defender as teammate Britain Peele #4 looks on.

JC’s Kaitlyn Nichols #24 boxes out a North defender as teammate Britain Peele #4 looks on.

By Tim Chambers

KINGSPORT—Trying to find out the last time the Lady Longhorns had earned back-to-back conference wins was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It dates back to nearly a decade and the search is still on.
But not for the Lady Longhorns who prevailed 44-41 in overtime on Friday night at North. This came after knocking off Sullivan South at home on Tuesday.
Both teams struggled on offense throughout the game.
North managed to score only four points in the first quarter but it was two better than Johnson County’s total output.
North scored the first eight points in the second period but the Horns would battle back from their 12-2 deficit.  Johnson County used five second-quarter points by Michala Cretsinger including a three to tie the game 13 all at intermission.
The Golden Raiders started the third quarter strong by going on an 8-0 run. Johnson County had to play from behind and finally evened the score at 25 all with 5:24 showing in the fourth quarter.

Neither team could gain any separation in the fourth quarter so the game went into overtime tied 37-37. And overtime didn’t look good for Johnson County early.
The Lady Raiders were clinging to a two-point lead when Cretsinger nailed a three-ball that put Johnson County in front to stay at 42-41 with 56 seconds remaining.
Brittney Brooks and Cretsinger bagged a charity toss each during the final half-minute that allowed them to escape with another victory.
Cretsinger finished the contest with 18 points.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.

Longhorns rally past Sullivan North 44-41

JC’s Sean Lewis #24 attempts to block a shot by North’s Peyton Robinson #10.

JC’s Sean Lewis #24 attempts to block a shot by North’s Peyton Robinson #10.

By Tim Chambers

KINGSPORT—Perhaps Ringo Starr said it best in his 1971 solo song just after the Beatles breakup in 1970. “It don’t come easy” for Johnson County when it comes to earning wins on the hardwood and Sullivan North almost made it a “hard day’s night.”
But the end result would be a 44-41 victory, the same margin that the Lady Longhorns used to knock off the Golden Raiders in overtime. It was an all-important victory for the Horns who earned their second consecutive Three Rivers Conference victory. North fell to 0-4 in league play and 1-16 on the season.
“It’s a conference road win,” said JCHS’ head coach Austin Atwood. “That’s all you can say about it. This is not the way that we want to be playing this late in the year.  I very disappointed with our effort tonight.”
The Longhorns could muster only eight first quarter points but that was seven better than North’s total output. The 8-1 lead would quickly vanish in the second quarter.
North outscored Johnson County 15-8 to tie the game at 16 all at halftime. It remained knotted at 26 -26 going into the final quarter.
That’s when the Longhorns got the lift it needed.
Sean Lewis scored seven consecutive points that allowed the Horns to gain some breathing room. But North rallied on a three-ball each from Peyton Robinson and Dale Poter to take a 37-35 advantage with 2:39 left in the game.
Johnson County got a jumper from Blake Atwood to tie the game with 1:30 remaining. The silky sophomore added 6-of-6 from the foul line in the final minute that proved to be the difference in the game. He and Lewis would close the quarter with eight points each and a combined 9-of-10 from the charity stripe.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.

Blue Devils outlast Lady Longhorns 48 to 41

JC’s Michael Cretsinger #32 scored a game high 19 points against Unicoi Co.

JC’s Michael Cretsinger #32 scored a game high 19 points against Unicoi Co.

By Tim Chambers

ERWIN— It’s been a tough year so far for the once dominant Lady Blue Devils who entered Tuesday’s game against Johnson County at 2-12. They now have a third win in the books.
The Longhorns were hoping to get a must-win but instead fell 48-41 inside the Blue Devils den.  It was a complete turnaround from in past years, because this one wasn’t decided until the end.
A three-ball by Michala Cretsinger and a basket by Courtney Brooks had pulled the Horns within one at 40-39 with 2:13 remaining. The Blue Devils ended the game going on an 8-2 run that spoiled a valiant effort put forth by Johnson County.
“We had some girls step up and play well tonight when others got in foul trouble,” said  JCHS’ head coach Thomas Wampler. “Our kids played hard but we could never surge into the lead. We had a couple of possessions to go ahead late when it was a two-point game, but we couldn’t knock down a three. We had some good looks but we’re making progress. We’ve got to continue working on the little things that can get us over the hump.”
The game was slow-paced throughout the first half.
The Lady Blue Devils led 12-8 after the first period and 23-15 at the half. The Longhorns outscored Unicoi County 9-6 in the third quarter to pull within five at 29-24.
A remarkable fourth quarter by their senior point guard nearly allowed them to pull off the upset.
Michala Cretsinger sat out most of the first half due to picking up two quick fouls, but her presence on the floor was vital in the end.
She opened up the final period by connecting on a pair of treys that led to eight consecutive points. The Longhorns got within two at 34-32 only to see the Blue Devils  go on a 6-0 run behind back-to-back three’s by Kaylee Hendrickson and Halie Padgett that put them in front at 40-32.
This time the Horns would battle back unlike in past games.
Destiny Cole and Courtney Brooks provided a couple baskets to get things started, then Cretsinger bagged another three-ball that sliced it to one at 40-39 with 2:18 remaining.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of  this week’s Tomahawk.

Upcoming Longhorn Happenings

Friday 13
Johnson County at Sullivan North

Junior High Tournament at Hampton Elementary
Johnson Co. vs. Chuckey-Doak (girls) TBA
Johnson Co. vs. Hampton (boys) TBA

Saturday 14
Johnson Co. girls in (Championship  or Consolation) TBA
Johnson Co. boys in (Championship or Consolation) TBA

Tuesday 17
Johnson County at Sullivan East

Unicoi finally solves Horns

JC’s Blake Atwood #11 had 13 points and five assists against Unicoi County.

JC’s Blake Atwood #11 had 13 points and five assists against Unicoi County.

By Tim Chambers

ERWIN— Johnson County’s hard-nosed defense forced Unicoi County to play a Phyllis-Diller type game for three quarters on Tuesday. Unfortunately, their final frame was like a Miss America pageant during the swimsuit competition. The Blue Devils turned some eyes in their 48-37 home win over the Horns.
The Blue Devils found themselves trailing 29-27 going into the final quarter. They rallied to outscore the Longhorns 21-8 over the final eight minutes that gave them an all important conference victory.
JCHS’ head coach Austin Atwood complemented his team on their hustle and effort. He said their shooting woes were what buried them.
“I thought we defended pretty good and kept them off balance for most of the game,” said Atwood. “We held their two big post players to eight points combined and that’s what we wanted to do. We shot the basketball poorly and that was our downfall. The effort was there and so was the heart. We should have won after holding a team like Unicoi County to 48 points.
The Longhorns used a three-point play by Austin Houser and treys each from Bud Icenhour and Zack Eller to grab a 9-7 lead to end the first quarter.
Blake Atwood did his best to keep the Horns even in the second quarter. His eight points in the period allowed the Horns to hang close, but a three-ball by Hensley and six points from Putman enabled the Blue Devils to take a 21-16 advantage.
Eller did his best to steal back the momentum by swishing a three in the final seconds but the Horns still trailed 21-19.  Things got much better for the Steers in the third quarter.
Their stingy defense limited the Blue Devils to six points after the Horns had put up 10.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.

Johnson County Youth League Recap

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Mountain City #2 C-Division (7-0): 1st Row, L-R: Dylan Reece, Gage Grissom, Carter Atwood and Scotty Orndorff. 2nd Row, L-R: Samantha McKinney, Zack Roark, Shannon Brooks, Aaron Campbell and Bryson Kimbell. Back Row: Coaches Matt Cornett and Jonathan Roark.

By Tim Chambers

C-League
Mountain City 2 (24)
Mountain City 1 (14)
Two unbeaten teams hooked up to battle in C-Division play as both teams entered the contest 6-0. Mountain City 2 got a remarkable performance by Carter Atwood to win a hard fought 24-14 contest.
Atwood fired in all 24 points for the winners. Hunter Paisley scored MC1 entire total of 14 points.

B-Division
Mountain City 1 (20)
Doe 1 (18)
Zach Lunceford scored a game high 16 points helping MC 1 gain a two-point victory. Izzy T and Jayden K added two points apiece.
Daniel Taylor led Doe 1 with six points. Kyle Sluder and Luke Warlock added four apiece. Jayden Bishop and Austin McElyea added two points each.

Doe 2 (22)
Roan Creek 1 (15)
Chris Reece swished the nets for 14 points for Doe 2 in their 22-15 win over Roan Creek 1. Josiah McEwen helped the cause with five points while Corbin Presnell tossed in two.
Samuel Layey had six points and Joe Joe Church scored five for RC1. Conner Gentry, and Sammy Seivers scored a basket each.

A-Division
Mountain City 1 (36)
Roan Creek 2 (17)
Peyton Pavusek scored 13 points and George Grill tallied 11 in MC1’s big win. Daniel Stout added six in the victory while Evan Dollar had four. Chris Grill closed out the scoring with two.
Noah Eastridge led RC2 with eight points. Tyler Seatz and Isaiah Fenner added four apiece. Jackson chipped in with one.

Correction
Some errors occurred in Mountain City #2  team picture that ran last week. They defeated MC# 1 on Thursday to take over sole possession of first place. Above are the corrected names. Please accept our apology for the error. Also note that we were unable to obtain some last names in today’s box scores.

Hampton Bulldogs chomp Longhorns frosh 60-55

By Tim Chambers

Like snow on a sunny day, Johnson County watched a large lead melt away on Thursday night inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium. Hampton heated up in the second half to overcome a 34-20 halftime deficit to knock off the Longhorns 60-55 in freshman boys’ basketball action.
The Horns led 15-12 after the first quarter behind six points from Will Henson and four more from Darrin Cunningham.
Cunningham continued his stellar play on the inside in the second quarter by tossing in six points. Petie Pavusek and Henson added treys helping the Horns build a 14-point advantage at intermission.
Hampton started to whittle away at the lead in the third quarter by outscoring the Longhorns 18-8.
Jordan Bentley scored 17 of his game high 24 points in the second half including a key basket that put Hampton in front to stay with 3:54 remaining in the game. Key free throws by Colton Crumley down the stretch allowed the Dogs to walk away with the victory.
Crumley scored 12 points to compliment the 24 recorded by Bentley. Izaak Hill had a couple of treys and finished with six points. Rocky Croy tossed in nine to aid the Dogs’ win.
Cunningham led the Longhorns with 16 points. Lucas Phillips and Henson added 13 points each. Michael Oxendine contributed seven in the loss.

Happy Valley Warriors spoil Junior Lady Longhorns upset bid 37-31

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JC’s Sadie Stout #23 soars for 2 of her game high 21 points versus HV.

By Tim Chambers

Happy Valley’s unblemished conference record nearly got dented by a determined team of Lady Longhorns but the middle school Warriors found a way to pull out the victory. The Lady Longhorns took them down to the wire before falling 37-31 inside their own gym on Thursday.
It was quite a turnaround from the previous game that saw the Lady Longhorns get down by 28. But that wasn’t the case on this night. They led 27-26 with 4:59 remaining in the game only to be outscored 10-5 down the stretch.
Their performance drew praise from head coach Kechia Eller.
“We showed up and played all four quarters against the best team in our conference,” said Eller. “We played with a ton of heart and hustle. They gave it their all the whole game. Sadie had a phenomenal game and the others played good around her. It’s a total change from where we were earlier in the year. These kids have improved a bunch.”
Baskets by Sadie Stout, Maddie Edington and Cassidy Lakatos allowed Johnson County to take an early lead in the game but the Warriors came storming back behind their one-two punch of Morgan Headrick and Olivia Absher.
Absher’s three and eight points by Headrick enabled the Warriors to hold a slim 14-13 advantage after one.
The Lady Longhorns used a stingy defense to stay in the game during the second quarter. They failed to score a single point but held the Warriors to only four points in the quarter.
Happy Valley led 18-13 at the half but the tide would turn in the third quarter.
Stout dominated the third quarter by tossing in 12 points and she continued to sizzle in the following frame.
She scored their first six points of the quarter to tie the game at 19 all. She later nailed a jumper that gave them the lead at 25-23.
Absher’s three-ball at the buzzer gave the Lady Warriors a 26-25 lead heading into the final stanza. It remained tight up until the final minute.
Stout’s three-ball gave Johnson County its last lead at 28-27 with 5:40 remaining.
She added another trey with 1:20 left on the clock to cut a six-point deficit in half at 34-31. A late basket by Roberts and a free throw allowed the Tribe to escape with the victory.
Stout fired in a game high 21 points to lead the way. Edington pulled down eight rebounds to top that department. Emmy Miller and Rhiannon Icenhour collected seven each.
“We knew what they were going to do so we just went out and played super hard with nothing to lose,” said Stout. “We wanted to beat them and felt like we should have. I’m happy we were able to hang with them because everyone hustled and played with lots of heart. This will help us going into the tournaments.”
Headrick led the Warriors with 17 points and Absher added 12.
The Lady Longhorns fell 31-12 in the seventh grade game.
Jacey Eshleman led the Horns with five points.

Junior Longhorns lasso Happy Valley Warriors 36-27

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JC’s Stacey Greer #3 scores off an offensive rebound against HV.

By Tim Chambers

A Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang start ended in a Rolls Royce finish for Johnson County on Thursday night in middle school basketball action. The Longhorns outscored Happy Valley 20-9 in the second half to win a hard fought 36-27 decision on their home floor.
It was quite a turnaround for the Longhorns who started slowly. They hit only 2-of-13 shots in the first quarter and committed five turnovers.
Head coach Devin Shaw summed up the win.
“Clay Stanley came off the bench and played his tail off,” said Shaw. “He hit three big shots in the fourth quarter that was the difference. We were able to put Clayton Cross down low against a smaller defender and use his size and that helped. But the difference was defense. We held them to nine points in the second half. We made them make shots instead of giving up layups. Those things were huge in this game. Not one single player gave up.”
The Warriors led 11-7 after one, getting five points from Timmy Mounts and four by Alex Lunceford.
The Longhorns tried to whittle away at the lead in the second quarter but could only carve two points off the deficit. Clayton Cross hit a trifecta and scored six points while Stacy Greer had four offensive rebounds including a putback.
They still trailed by a slim 18-16 margin at the half.
The Warriors continued to lead in the third quarter up until final horn. That’s when they got hit by a giant dagger.
Ryan Morefield banked in a three-ball from 30-feet giving the Longhorns its first lead of the game at 25-24. “Stanley” would help them do things right in the final quarter.
Clay Stanley was nothing but money down the stretch.  He scored seven consecutive points to start the fourth, including a long three-ball that extended their lead at 32-24 with 2:57 remaining.
The Warriors got within seven in the final minute, but Ian Norris’s basket in the final seconds would seal the deal for the Horns.

Cross led the Longhorns with 15 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Stanley added 10 points. Greer topped the rebounding with 11. Morefield dished out four assists.
Mounts had 12 points to lead the Warriors.

 

Tim’s Tomahawk Talk – Dynamic Duo of Austin Hicks and Adam McClain both snubbed by TSWA

By Tim Chambers

I’ve been a sportswriter in some capacity for almost 20 years and I’ve seen the good side of it and the bad. I have a ton of respect for many of my colleagues who write sports, but a few often miss the boat.
The recent 2016 football All-State selections left me puzzled to say the least.
You sometimes have a few deserving players omitted from the elite teams but that usually doesn’t happen when they put up record breaking numbers that stack up statewide among the elite.
Happy Valley’s senior linebacker Austin Hicks and Hampton’s Adam McClain were snubbed by the TSWA after being left off the 2016 2-A squad.
Hicks amassed 170 tackles, six sacks, and four fumble recoveries as a linebacker. He also scored 14 touchdowns and ran for 840 yards, leading his team to a 10-2 overall record and a second round playoff berth.
McClain rushed for 2149 and averaged a whopping 10.1 yards per carry. He scored 29 touchdowns, 22 two-point conversions for a total of 220 points.  That was tops for this area.

Can somebody tell me why these two kids that not only excel on the football field but in the classroom as well were left off this year’s squad? What were the criteria for getting selected? Have the writers in Middle and West Tennessee ever seen these two kids play or heard their names mentioned?
The answer is no to all the above for many of the writers who selected these teams. But they didn’t leave out Northeast Tennessee. We had six players representing Carter County selected.
But here is my beef about the whole process.
The number of writers in Middle and West Tennessee far outnumber the ones in East and Northeast Tennessee. Trust me, it does make a difference during the voting. It’s been like that for years. The writers from the middle and west areas never see the East players perform unless it is in a playoff game or at the state tournament level.
Here is a perfect example.

I saw a kid make All State in basketball that averaged six points per game for the season because he played lights out during the state tournament and his team won the championship. In return, a four-year starter that averaged 15 points, five assists and four steals during the season got left off that same team who was very deserving.
Now comes the part where we ruffle a few feathers.
Many writers have never played sports and some wouldn’t know a chop block from a chop steak, but a few have prevailed in the profession.
It’s hard to write about something or understand it if you’ve never played the game. That doesn’t mean that you had to be a great player to write about the sport but you must be a follower. And post season honors can’t be just about numbers. You have to take into consideration who these numbers were put up against and what type of competition it came against.

Finally the TSWA is a small fraternity that hands out its yearly awards and state honors to those who support it. I got out of it years ago when I learned of a local writer that cost three deserving kids from up here All State honors in one sport so that he could get one on from the area that he was covering.  It‘s been going on for years and it still is.
Congratulations to all the players who were selected. You deserved it. But the system has to improve.
I suggest forming a committee of eight writers to represent each area (Northeast Tennessee included) to sit down and evaluate each nominee. Look at stats but also look at the whole picture.
Somebody will always be omitted when the numbers are pretty well even.
But it shouldn’t have happened to Hicks and McClain.
Tim Chambers is the sports editor at the Tomahawk. He can be emailed at tomahawksportsedito@gmail.com

Houser hoping Longhorns can turn the tide

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Austin Houser drives in to score in an earlier game against Elizabeththon.

By Tim Chambers

It has been a rocky start for Johnson County so far in conference play but their senior leader is hoping all that changes in 2017. Austin Houser has played all four years and remembers the magic he saw during his freshman season as a varsity member.
“We didn’t start out very well, but the team hit its stride midway in the year,” said Houser. “It was a great run and we made it to the sub-state. That’s the type of season we want to get back to. Our goal is to win the District and Regional tournament, but we definitely want to make it. We’ve got to get back to playing like we were early. We all have been working hard to get better.”
The Longhorns are currently 0-2 in league play with a road game at Unicoi County on Tuesday. Houser knows what the team needs to do in order to make a run at a top four spot.
“This team has to get tougher,” said Houser. “We’ve got to win all our remaining games at home and steal a few on the road. We shouldn’t have lost the Happy Valley game and we didn’t play well at all against Elizabethton. We’ve got to start playing the way we’re capable of and with more consistency.”
Houser said that one former Longhorn has had a big impact on his playing career.
“I look up to Brian Dempsey and the way he played,” said Houser. “I remember playing against him in practice and how he always tried to help me. I’ve got to try and play like he did, scoring and rebounding. We can’t wait around for five or six more games before we get going. That has to all start this week. We need everyone on the team to take their game up a notch or two.”
Houser is the son of Danny and Melissa Houser. He has a younger sister, Emily, as a third grade student at Mountain City Elementary.
His team will play Cloudland on Saturday and then get back in conference play next week against Sullivan South at home on Tuesday and at North on Friday.
“Every conference game is big from here on out,” said Houser. “We’ve need to win all of them and we’re capable of doing that if we play well.”

Longhorns’ frosh top Unicoi 44-40 in overtime

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JC’s Dylan Simcox #3 watches his game clinching FT go through the net.

By Tim Chambers

Johnson County’s only view of Unicoi was through their front windshield for nearly four quarters. They finally got them in their rearview mirror late in the game and kept them there to pick up a big come-from-behind victory. The Longhorns overcame two nine-point deficits to defeat the Blue Devils 44-40 on Monday night inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium.  It was a couple of clutch shots by Lucas Phillips and two free throws by Dylan Simcox that highlighted the evening.
“We were going forward in reverse and that wasn’t good at all,” said Johnson County’s freshman coach Trent Snyder. “We got to moving on defense and created some turnovers in our half court set that got us going. I felt like that was the turning point. We had a little prayer meeting at halftime and the kids came back out and defended much better after that. Unicoi had some really good shooters. I think they are the second best team that we’ve played all year.”
Johnson County trailed 31-25 going into the final period and had never led in the game. Suddenly, their shots started to fall.
Will Henson got things started by canning a three-ball to pull them within three. Back-to-back baskets by Phillips and Michael Oxendine gave Johnson County its first lead of the game at 32-31. They extended that to three on Henson’s outlet to Phillips that resulted in a layup, but the Blue Devils weren’t about to roll over and play dead.
Bret Lingerfielt’s three-ball tied the game at 34 all with 2:39 remaining, and they extended that to 38-34 by going on a 7-0 run.
The Longhorns got new life when Simcox drained a trifecta with 34 seconds remaining to cut the deficit at 38-37. A pair of Lingerfelt free throws gave UC a 40-37 advantage with 15 seconds showing setting the stage for one wild and whacky finish.
The Horns attempted a game-tying three but missed. A key offensive rebound by Darrin Cunningham got Phillips another opportunity where he swished it in the final seconds to send the game into overtime.
Phillips put the Horns in front to stay at 42-40 by hitting a jumper with 2:17 remaining. Simcox sealed it with two clutch free throws with seven ticks showing.
“Lucas hit two big shots and Dylan made one and two crucial free throws,” added Snyder. “Petie played good at the point and we rebounded well. All the kids played pretty well in the second half.”
Unicoi scored the first six points of the game and led 11-6 after one.
They went up by nine in the second quarter on a three-ball by Noah Tillson, but the Horns cut it to five going into halftime.
Johnson County tried to chip away in the third quarter getting four points by Cunningham and a three-ball from Simcox, but they never got closer than a half dozen.

For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.

Johnson County Youth Basketball League Spotlight

By Tim Chambers

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Doe #1 (5th-6th grade team): 1st Row, L-R: Caleb Pierce, Brayden Gentry, Graham Reece and Connor Pierce. 2nd Row, L-R: Jordan James, Austin West, Sam Swecker, and Sebastian Adams. Back Row, Coaches: Brad Reece, Jerry Gentry and Chris Pierce.

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Mountain City #2 (5-7) Team 1st Row, L-R: Dylan Reece, Gage Grissom, Carter Atwood and Scotty Orndorff. 2nd Row, L-R: Samantha McKinney, Zack Roark, Shannon Campbell, Aaron Campbell and Bryson Campbell. Back Row: Coaches Matt Roark and Jonathan Roark.

Two teams are having banner seasons so far in the Johnson County Youth League at the halfway mark. Doe #1 in the A Division is currently 7-0 while Mountain City #1 in the C Division is 6-0.  They are featured in this week’s version of “Youth League Roundup.”

Doe #1 (C—Division 7-0)
The Doe 1 squad is made up of eight players that are in the fifth and sixth grade classes. Four of the players have been together since kindergarten according to their coach and league president, Jerry Gentry.
Graham Reece, Brayden Gentry, Conner Pierce and Caleb Pierce are the four returning veterans while Austin West has been with the squad for three seasons. Sebastian Adams has been with the team for two years. Sam Swecker has played before but it’s his first season with Doe 1.  Jordan James rounds out the team in his first year of playing basketball.
The team has already put together two undefeated seasons in past years.
“They went 22-0 in the C league when they were in the second grade and were 18-0 in the B division during their fourth grade year,” said Gentry. “All their success can be attributed to teamwork. This bunch don’t care who scores. They pass the ball well and share it with one another. Each of them are pretty good defensive players. We only get to practice about two hours per week so we feel like they could be even better with more gym time.”
Gentry said that practices are limited with 33 teams and only three gyms. Many of the kids work on their game at home.
For more on the Doe #1 team, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.

Mountain City #2
(C Division 6-0)
The same can be said about Mountain City #2 in the C Division. They are currently 6-0 but will face their biggest test of the season on Thursday. The team is made up of players ages 5-7 according to head coach Matt Cornett. He touched on his team and what makes them go.
“We’ve had two or three players step up, but our team leader is definitely Carter Atwood,” said Cornett. “He makes everyone around him better. All the other players build off his enthusiasm. He’s what makes this team go.”
Atwood is eight points shy of 100 after six games. Gage Grissom is second on the team in scoring with 32 total points.
“Gage has scored well and Dylan Reece has played good,” added Cornett. “Aaron Campbell has been a very good rebounder and defensive player. All these kids have played well. Carter, Dylan and Gage were the only ones returning that had ever played.”
Cornett has nine players on his squad and had to draft six of them.
Shannon Brooks, Scotty Orndorff, Samantha McKinney, Zack Roark and Bryson Kimball are the other five players that round out the team.
For more on the Mountain City #2 team, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.