JCHS Longhorns ‘steal’ one from Hampton Bulldogs

By Tim Chambers

Johnson County missed a boat load of free throws and lost one of its top scorers early to an injury, but it didn’t stand in the way of them pulling out a dramatic victory over Hampton. The Longhorns stole one from the Bulldogs winning 58-55 inside of VanHuss-White Gymnasium on Thursday.
Blake Atwood’s steal and layup put Johnson County up 57-55 with 13 seconds remaining in the game. It was his second highlight reel of the fourth quarter.
His first one came with Johnson County trailing 48-44. The junior standout drained a three-ball from deep in the corner and was fouled. He converted the rare 4-point play allowing the Horns to pull even with 3.40 remaining in the game.
“It definitely was a huge shot at the time, but we had several big ones down the stretch,” said head coach Austin Atwood. “The three that Bud Icenhour hit late in the game put us back in front and so did Blake’s steal and layup. I thought that Jordan Edes-King and Nathan Arnold played much better on the inside tonight and our bench players gave us some big minutes.“

Down to the wire
The game wasn’t decided until the final play with fans on both sides standing for the final seconds.
The Bulldogs elected to go for the win putting the ball in the hands of sharp-shooting guard Dru Owens. His three-ball just missed the mark and Hampton had to foul Zack Eller with .05 remaining.
Eller sank 1-of-2 and Hampton called a quick timeout after running down the rebound with 2.7 remaining, but their inbounds got picked off allowing Johnson County to escape with a victory.
Big plays highlighted the fourth quarter including several by Hampton’s Jayden Livingston. The sizzling southpaw scored nine of his 11 points in the frame including two clutch treys. His final one gave the Dogs a four-point advantage before Johnson County began their comeback.
The Longhorns got a huge trifecta from Bud Icenhour to go up 55-53 with 1:15 remaining. This came after Owens had swished a trey that put the Longhorns back up by one.
Owens made a beautiful pass to Jordan Bentley that resulted in a layup which tied the score for the final time at 55 all.
That set the stage for Atwood’s heroics.

See-saw battle early
Hampton used a trio of treys by Owens in the first quarter to go up 11-9 after one.
He continued to light it up in the second quarter by knocking down a couple more but the Longhorns would answer in a big way.
Icenhour got hot and drilled three from deep behind the 3-point arc while Atwood tallied eight points including a trey and one 3-ball.
Johnson County led 28-24 at the half after Owens had hit his second buzzer-beating 3-point shot to close the quarter.
The third quarter was a slow pace with Hampton cutting the deficit to 37-36 heading into the final period.
The two teams would combine to score 40 points during the final eight minutes with Johnson County collecting 21 of them.

Game leaders
Atwood filled the stat charts with 21 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and four steals. Icenhour added 18 points hitting 5-of-9 from behind the 3-point arc. Edes-King collected 10 points and seven rebounds.
Owens tallied a game high 26 points for the Bulldogs shooting 8-for-14 from behind the arc. Livingston collected 11 points, nine in the final quarter.
The win over Hampton was a nice Christmas gift but the wrapping left much to be desired .
“It wasn’t pretty but we’ll take one at Hampton anytime,” said Atwood. “They just beat Unicoi last week so beating them at home is always tough. They don’t gift wrap games for you.”
Johnson Co. 58, Hampton 55

Atwood 21, Icenhour 18, Edes-King 10, N. Arnold 6, Eller 3, Reece 0, T. Arnold 0, Lewis 0

Owens 26, Livingston 11, Hardin 7, Bentley 6, Davenport 2, Jones 3

Johnson Co. 9 19 9 21 — 58
Hampton 11 13 12 19 — 55
3-point goals—Hampton 10 (Owens 8, Livingston 2) JC 7 (Icenhour 5, Atwood 2)

Unicoi Lady Blue Devils hold off JCHS Horns 53-46

JC’s Emmy Miller #5 scores 2 of her 18 points over UC’s Halie Padgett #20

By Tim Chambers

The Lady Longhorns fought like a junkyard dog for 32 minutes only to come up just a little short against a very talented Unicoi County squad on Friday. The Blue Devils walked away from Ray Shoun Gymnasium with a hard fought 53-46 victory, but it didn’t take away from the effort given by the home team.
The Blue Devils reeled off a 9-0 run after Johnson County’s Emmy Miller had opened the game with a basket. They battled back to pull even on several occasions but never could surge in front despite four ties during the third quarter.
JCHS’ head coach Leon Tolley saw a much better performance by his squad than he did at Unaka on the previous night. He complimented them on their efforts.
“Unicoi County is a tough matchup for us,” said Tolley. They got the big lead early but we would battle back and tie the game, only to see us be our own worst enemy and not be able to take the lead. I’m most proud of the way we fought after last night’s game at Unaka. When you play two teams like that back-to-back, it’s hard to have anything in the tank. I thought our kids battled down to the wire, but we didn’t have a lot left in the tank at the end.”

See saw first half battle
Falling behind early took plenty out of their tank which saw them storm back to get back in the game.
Miller’s three-pointer and put back of a missed shot got things started, then Taylor Parsons followed with a nice spin move in the paint.
The Lady Longhorns trailed 13-9 after one but would press forward to take their only lead of the game in the second period.
Taylor Cox got things started with a left-handed runner and Courtney Brooks fired in a trey to get them within three.
A bucket each from Adrian Hall and Britain Peele gave them an 18-17 advantage capping off a 9-4 run.
Parsons kept Johnson County even with a nice spin move in the paint and Miller’s bucket left them trailing by one with 11 seconds remaining before halftime.
Halie Padgett’s 25-footer at the buzzer allowed Unicoi County to take a 28-24 lead into the locker room at intermission. But the Lady Longhorns weren’t got down without a fight and proved themselves to be one tough cookie during the final two quarters.

Close, but no cigar
The Lady Longhorns fell behind by seven to start the third quarter, but a long three by Hall tied the game at 33-all, capping off a 7-0 run. Miller kept the game tied at 35 on a strong move in the paint, but the Lady Devils closed the quarter on an 8-0 run and led 43-35 to start the fourth quarter.
The Blue Devils never could get their lead extended to double-digits but did push it up to nine in the early going.
Johnson County surged back, getting a deuce each from Hall and Miller that whittled the deficit back down to five at 49-44 with 4:04 remaining.
The Longhorns got their last basket of the game by Courtney Brooks with 1:55 remaining that left them trailing 51-46.
Two forced shots and a turnover down the stretch spoiled any chance of a Lady Longhorn victory over one of the league’s frontrunners.
Miller had a big night scoring 18 points and grabbing five rebounds. Parsons added eight points, 11 rebounds and five steals. Brooks totaled eight points. Hall finished with seven points, five rebounds and three of the team’s five assists.
Padgett scored a game high 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Lady Blue Devils.
The Lady Longhorns continue to show a vast amount of improvement over years past against a team who was one of the favorites to win the Three Rivers Conference. Tolley said it’s all a work in progress.
“We just have very little margin for error. We’re learning as we go. We played much better defensively tonight than against Unaka. We ran a bunch of different defenses tonight for the first time and we had success with them. I am very proud of our girls’ effort.”
Unicoi County 53, Johnson County 46

Unicoi Co. (53)
Padgett 20, Bailey 9, Powers 7, Vance 7, Hendrickson 4, King 6

Johnson Co. (46)
Miller 18, Parsons 8, C. Brooks 8, Hall 7, Cox 2, Peele 2, Cornett 1, Winters 0

Unicoi Co 13 15 15 10 — 53
Johnson Co. 9 15 12 10 — 46
3-point goals—UC 3 (Powers, Vance, Padgett) JC 3 (Hall, Miller, C. Brooks)

Hensley led Unicoi Blue Devils top Longhorns 68-62

Jordan Edes-King #21 pulls down a rebound for the Longhorns

By Tim Chambers

Trying to recover from an early deficit was like trying to find a needle in a haystack for Johnson County. They got close but the focus wasn’t there down the stretch.
The Blue Devils outplayed the Longhorns from start to finish and came away with a 68-62 conference win inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium on Friday.
Live by the three,
die by the three
The Longhorns connected on 11-of-28 three-point shots in the game but only 1-of-5 in the final two minutes. That plus Unicoi’s bench play and Hensley’s helpers was enough to leave head coach Austin Atwood displeased with the Longhorns’ performance.
“We usually get those key defensive stops but tonight we didn’t guard very well,” said Atwood. Hensley had his best game of the year and he’s part of the reason why we couldn’t stop them down the stretch. Our post players have got to score on the inside and we didn’t do that tonight. We need them now and not just two or three weeks down the road. Unicoi outplayed us on the inside and our shot selection wasn’t good late in the game. Hopefully this is an eye opener for us. This is a game that we should have won.”
Longhorn duo provides
spectacular performances
That assessment pretty much summed up the game. Johnson County got monster performances from Blake Atwood and Bud Icenhour who combined to score 48 points including a combined 10 treys.
Atwood finished with a game high 28 points, five rebounds and 4-of-4 from the foul line. Icenhour added 20 that included 6-of-13 shooting from behind the arc and five rebounds.
But there was not a lot of meat on the bone after that.
The Blue Devils were without starting center Clay Simpson who could miss the rest of the season with an injury, but it didn’t slow them down.
Danny Lowery came off the bench to score 12 points including 10 in the first half.
The Blue Devils led 19-13 after one and it could have been a lot more had it not been for Icenhour’s play. He connected on 3 treys in the quarter and fed a nice pass to Troy Arnold for a layup to end the quarter.
The Longhorns got within three points midway through the second quarter but never could surge into the lead. They trailed 29-24 at the half with Atwood scoring the final five points.
That appeared to swing the momentum in Johnson County’s favor because they took the lead just minutes into the third quarter.
Bud Icehour’s runner gave them a 31-30 lead after Atwood had swished a long trey. The Horns went in front 33-30 on Atwood’s basket but Hensley converted a layup off a steal that would put them in front to stay at 35-33 at the 5:05 mark.
The Horns trailed 51-45 after three quarters but were never out of the game. Ironically it was another steal and layup by Hensley that put them up by double-digits, 60-50 with 3:57 remaining in the game.
Icenhour’s three-ball with 21 seconds remaining got the Horns within three at 65-62 but made-free throws by the Blue Devils at the end would seal the win.
Johnson County ended the game shooting 11-of-28 from the three point line but made only two of their last 10 attempts. Unicoi County got 22 points from its bench that proved to be the difference in the game.
Hensley filled the stat chart with 25 points, six rebounds, four assists and five steals. Lowery added 12 points and Podvin added 11. Thompson tallied nine points off the bench to aid the win.
The Longhorns will travel to Hampton on Thursday, then close out 2017 with a home game versus West Wilkes, North Carolina on Friday.
Unicoi Co. 68
Johnson Co. 62
Unicoi Co. (68): Hensley 25, Podvin 11, Lowery 12, Thomspon 9, Lingerfelt 7, Strother 1, Casey 2, Thelen 1

Johnson Co. (62): Atwood 28, Icenhour 20, Edes-King 5, Lewis 5, T. Arnold 4, N. Arnold 0, Eller 0

Unicoi Co. 19 10 22 17 — 68
Johnson Co. 13 11 21 12 —- 62
3-point goals—UC 6 (Hensely 3, Thompson 2, Lingerfelt 1) JC 11 (Icenhour 6, Atwood 4, Lewis 1 )

JCMS Longhorns waltz past Westview 50-31

By Tim Chambers

Johnson County began their quest for a holiday tournament championship at 9 am on Saturday morning and they came back home with the early bird special. The middle school Longhorns routed Westview 50-31 in a game where several players including subs made key contributions.
The game was tied 9-9 after one thanks to five points by John Stout and four from Corie Neely. Johnson County managed to pull in front 15-11 at the half with Nate Rice coming up with the go-ahead bucket.
Both teams got their offense going in the third quarter as Westview outscored the Longhorns 17-16 to close within four.
The game remained close throughout the third quarter as Johnson County failed to shut down Westview’s Clint Price. He blistered the nets for 15 points in the frame but the Longhorns matched that output with a scattered variety.
They got a half dozen points from Neely and five more by Preston Greer that included a trey. Baskets by Zack Parsons and Dalton Brown in the paint helped the Horns remain in front 31-28 going into the fourth quarter.
Longhorns’ mammoth
fourth quarter
The Longhorns finally found the winning combination in the fourth quarter. They cut loose for 19 points on offense while holding the Vols to just three.
Sammy Walters stepped up big, scoring five points and provided some outstanding defensive play. Neely added seven more and Big John Stout mustered up another four.
That resulted in a breakfast special win for the Horns.
Johnson County got a game high 19 points and 10 rebounds from Neely. Stout added nine points and Greer tallied seven. Stout and Parsons had eight rebounds apiece for the Horns. Anthony Hall provided two points in the fourth quarter while Brown, Walters and Rice played superbly off the bench.

Coach Shaw’s Comments
JCMS’ head coach Devin Shaw was very happy with the win.
”I thought that our rebounding was the key to our win,” said Shaw. “Corie scored about all of his points off offensive rebounds plus John and Zack did an excellent job controlling the boards. We didn’t have Gavin Ward who got 23 points last game because of sickness but others stepped up in his place. Dalton Brown and Sammy Walters gave us a huge spark off the bench and Nate Rice and Preston played good in the second half. The game was decided in the fourth quarter. I thought we kept our composure and played one of our best quarters this year.”
The team was scheduled to play again on Wednesday at 2 pm against an opponent to be determined.
JMCS 50, Westview 31

Johnson Co. (50)
Neely 19, Stout 9, Greer 7, Parsons 4, Walters 5, Hall 2, Rice 2, Brown 2.

Westview (31)
Pierce 17, Hartman 7, Baker 1, Goffrey 2, Hanes 4

Johnson Co. 9 6 16 19 — 50
Westview 9 2 17 3 —- 31
3-point goals—JC 1 (Greer) Westview 0

Unaka Lady Rangers solve Longhorns 69-46

JC’s Taylor Parsons #22 wins the tip over Unaka’s Myah Parlier

By Tim Chambers

When Johnson County lost talented freshman Sadie Stout, the Lady Rangers stepped up and played “stout,” then ran away to a big win. Unaka prevailed 69-46 inside of Snavely Gymnasium on Thursday, but the Lady Longhorns showed signs they could be a team to reckon with when tournament time rolls around.

Close encounters and  lots of scoring early
The game was tight in the early going with Unaka’s Sarah Tipton and Johnson County’s Adrian Hall shooting lights out from the field. Hall hit a pair of treys including her second one that tied the game at 15 all but Stout suffered an ankle injury on the play and didn’t return. Her absence took away a hunk of Johnson County’s size and scoring.
Tipton meanwhile was 3-of-3 from behind the arc for nine points.
Johnson County found the long ball to its liking getting a trey each from Taylor Cox and Taylor Parsons, but the Rangers matched that and then some. Lexi Garland swished their fourth trey of the quarter which broke the final deadlock while Myah Parlier was working the inside for six points. The Rangers led 24-16 after one when Erika Potter converted a deuce in the paint in the final seconds.
The Rangers shot a torrid 60 percent, 9-of-15 from the field and ended the quarter on an 8-1 run. Head coach Leon Tolley agreed that losing Stout hurt but also noted that they were some positive things he saw despite the loss.
“We played great for the first five minutes, then the air went out of our balloon when Sadie went out,” said Tolley. “We let that affect us the last two minutes of the first and the entire second quarter. Once you give Unaka a cushion like that you’re not going to come back. We can’t give them or anyone else easy looks like we did tonight. To our credit the kids played hard in the second half but size wise they created some difficult matchups for us.”
The Rangers did cause matchup problems on the inside for the smaller Johnson County squad, but the Longhorns inability to knock down shots in the second quarter was also a factor.

Longhorns go cold in the second quarter
Hall had got the Longhorns within six to start the frame, but Unaka scored the next nine points that upped their advantage to 15.
Potter’s three-point play gave them their largest lead in the half at 20 but a three-ball by Abby Cornett and her two free throws would whittle it back down to 15.
They pushed it back to 20 by halftime thanks to Parlier’s two jumpers and a three-ball from Beth Lowe.
The Longhorns shot a dismal 2-of-12 in the quarter and made matters worse by committing six turnovers yet they came out and played even in the second half.
Courtney Brooks tossed in six points in the third quarter and Hall added her third trey. This allowed Johnson County to prevent Unaka from expanding their lead as both teams tallied 11 in the quarter.
Cox hit Johnson County’s only two shots from the field in the fourth quarter including one trey, but the Horns would knock down five free throws and were only outscored 14-10 in the period.
Hall led the Longhorns with 11 points and five rebounds. Brooks added 10 points. Cox tossed in eight points and had a team high three steals. Cornett tallied seven points. Emmy Miller and Parsons collected six rebounds apiece and tallied six and five points respectively.
The Longhorns were
outrebounded 40-22
Parlier had game highs of 24 points and 11 rebounds to pace the Rangers. Potter added 10 points and nine boards.
The Lady Rangers ability to share the basketball was evident in the play of their two guards.
Sarah Tipton recorded 16 points, four steals and four assists. Lexi Garlard scored only six points but did manage to dish out a game high six assists and collect five steals.
“They’re fun to watch play,” said Tolley about Unaka. “They’re really good when they play like they did tonight. Coach Kenneth Chambers has done an excellent job with those kids. We won’t see anybody better than them on our schedule.”
Unaka 69, Johnson County 46

Johnson Co. (46)
Hall 11, C. Brooks 10, Cox 8, Cornett 6, Miller 6, Parsons 5
Unaka (69)
Parlier 24, Sa. Tipton 16, Potter 10, Garland 6, Lowe 3, Forney 2, Markland 2, Whitson 2, Sav. Tipton 4.

Johnson Co. 16 10 10 10 — 46
Unaka 24 22 11 12 — 69
3-point goals—JC 7 (Hall 3, Cox 2, Cornett, Parsons) Unaka 6 (Tipton 3, Garland 2, Lowe)

JCHS Longhorns rack Unaka Rangers 59-29 last Tuesday

JC’s Blake Atwood #11 scores for the Horns on a fast break layup

By Tim Chambers

Unaka’s state championship banner that was won in 2004 still hangs on the wall inside the school’s gymnasium but the style of basketball played back then is now a distant memory. The Rangers couldn’t hang with Johnson County resulting in a 59-29 lopsided win for the Longhorns on Tuesday.

Unaka’s head coach Aaron Dugger was a member of the 2002 team that advanced to the state tournament but lost in the first round. The Rangers also went in 2005, giving them three trips to Murfreesboro in four years.

“This has always been a tough place to play especially back then,” said Longhorns’ head coach Austin Atwood. “They’re down a bit right now but that won’t last long. Aaron (Dugger) gets the most out of his kids and they definitely play hard. He’s got a young team but some good underclassmen. We have a lot of seniors and it shows. I thought they defended well and slowed the game down on us early. We finally started playing at a pace to our liking.”

The game was of the slower variety throughout the first half.
The Rangers took their last lead of the game at 7-5 on Tyler Burke’s three, only to see a three-ball by Sean Lewis trigger a 9-0 run to close the quarter.
The Longhorns led 14-7 after one.

Double the fun
They continued that same process in the second quarter and would double Unaka’s point output to go up by 14.
Bud Icenhour had a pair of treys and Blake Atwood accounted for a half dozen points.
Johnson County enjoyed a 28-14 halftime advantage and it grew larger to start the third.
Lewis drained a pair of treys to up the ante at 20. A three-ball from Atwood and a couple more of the trifecta variety by Icenhour and Gavin Reece would end the quarter with Johnson County leading 49-18.

Reserves played all of the fourth quarter and most of the second half.
Freshman Clayton Cross converted a three-point play in his varsity game. Lucas Phillips added a half dozen points.

Game changers
Atwood finished with 10 points and was 6-of-6 from the foul line in limited play. Lewis led the Horns with 15 points including three treys. Icenhour knocked down three treys to gather 11 points. Jordan Edes-King provided seven points and five rebounds. Phillips finished with six and Reece collected five.
Burke finished with seven points and seven rebounds for Unaka.

Highlight Reel
Big Luke Rash brought Longhorn fans to their feet by blocking a couple of shots late in the game.
“We got to play everybody and that’s always good,” added Atwood. “It gets much tougher from here on out.”
Johnson County 59, Unaka 29

Johnson Co. (59)
Lewis 15, Icenhour 11, Atwood 10, Edes 7, T. Arnold 0, Phillips 6, Reece 5, Eller 2, Cross 3

Unaka (29)
Johnson 6, Hill 4, King 4, Sexton 2, Wright 3, Houghton 2, King 1, Ensor 4, Burke 3.

Johnson Co. 14 14 21 10 — 59
Unaka 7 7 4 11 — 29
3-point goals—JC 8 (Icenhour 3, Lewis 3, Reece, Phillips) Unaka (Johnson 2, Wright, Burke)

Johnson County finishes fifth in Colorado

By Tim Chambers

Steamboat Springs, Colorado is a tourist attraction noted for skiing, hot springs and the home of famous sports broadcaster Verne Lundquist who resides there. It’s also the place that has sent several athletes to the winter Olympics over the years and many medal winners.
The town has a history so it was quite an honor for the boys’ varsity basketball team to travel there on Wednesday to compete in the Steamboat Springs Shootout for three days.
The team flew out of Charlotte on Wednesday en route to their destination over 1600 miles away.
They took part in their first game on Thursday night which started at 10:30 pm our time. Their opponent was a two-time defending state championship team out of Denver, Colorado.

Legs gone by halftime and so was their lead
The Longhorns led after the first quarter and trailed by only one at halftime. But the high altitude would do them in during the second half. Atwood said it was a lesson learned they didn’t expect.
“I was talking to the game officials after we finished playing and they stated that they knew we were in trouble. They had overheard a few of our kids talking about not being able to feel their legs going into the locker room at halftime. We never did seem to find our second wind.”

Red hot shooting by the opposition and then some
Their observation would fit the mold after a close first half. Johnson County rushed some shots and the private school out of Denver shot the lights out.
“We went 0-for-7 to start the third quarter and they went 6-for-7. All of them were threes. We got down by 19 cut to nine but couldn’t get over the hump. I thought Sean Lewis played outstanding in the game and kept us in it. We could have won because we had our chances. I wasn’t pleased with our effort in the second half.”

Johnson County beat Montrose County 55-36
The lackluster play continued for the first 16 minutes in their second game. The Horns trailed 24-19 at halftime but turned it up in the second half.

Bud Icenhour had five points in the third quarter and did the little things to help his team win. Sean Lewis finished the night with a game high 23 points. Blake Atwood added 15 points and four steals. Icenhour finished with eight points, eight assists and four steals. Troy Arnold had a basket, the only other Longhorn to score.
They won the game 55-36.

Atwood’s comments
“We played a great second half but didn’t show up in the first one,” said Atwood. “We had a little prayer meeting at halftime and got some things straightened out. Bud played remarkable in the second half. He had a big third quarter getting the ball to our scorers with several assists and steals. Nathan did a good job defending their leading scorer and hit the boards well. Sean and Blake did the bulk of our scoring.
Hot shooting Horns hammer Montrose County 90-63
The Longhorns sprang out of the gate like a prize Philly at Churchill Downs. Blake Atwood amassed 18 points in the quarter helping the Horns to a 29-20 lead after one. They continued to shoot the lights out in the second quarter hitting on 63 percent of their shots.

Team effort with lots of contributors
Atwood would finish with 25 first half points but he wasn’t the only one contributing.
Bud Icenhour had three treys in the second quarter that saw them outscore the Bulldogs 26-16 to open up a 55-36 halftime advantage.
Sean Lewis continued to play well with 11 first half points. Jordan Edes-King slashed his way for six points and several key rebounds.
The Longhorns continued to play well getting a big lift from Nathan Arnold in the second half. He scored all nine of his points in the final two quarters and collected 10 rebounds and two steals.
The Longhorns failed in their bid to reach the century mark but closed the tournament on an outstanding note.

Final game totals
Atwood scored a career high 31 points to lead the way. Lewis added 21 points and ended the three-day event with 65 total. Icenhour provided 11 points, five steals and eight assists. Arnold finished with nine points and 10 rebounds and Edes-King had nine points and nine rebounds. Zack Eller came off the bench to score five points. Jimmy Bower collected four points and Troy Arnold gathered two.
Coach Atwood’s comments; final tournament analysis
“We played very well as a team and got everyone involved,” said Atwood. “Blake got us some breakout baskets in the first quarter and ended with 18 but it wasn’t just him. Our guys were getting the ball out quickly and hitting him out in front. We were sharing the basketball and everyone was contributing.”
Atwood felt it was important to end the tournament on a high note.

“We had to find a way to win. It was almost embarrassing the way we played in that first game and the first half of the second one. We finally started putting things together and got some excellent play after that.
Bud became a complete player there. He was getting people involved and has become a great passer. He defended well too and that sparked the whole team. Nathan took some ownership in that post position and rebounded well. He also knocked down some big shots in that last game. Sean had a remarkable tournament and Blake played well. Jordan bounced back and played good that last game and so did our bench. We needed a game like that heading into Friday’s game with Unicoi County.”
Atwood wanted to thank all the sponsors and private donors who made the trip happen. He said it was a trip that he’ll always remember.

“It wouldn’t have been an enjoyable trip with some past teams because seniors would have hung together and our underclassmen would have been split. This group likes to be around one another and all of them are a joy to coach. The all represented Johnson County well there. All they care about is winning. They’re fine with one another as long as we can do that.”
Johnson County 55, Moffitt County 36

Lewis 23, Atwood 15, Icenhour 8, T. Arnold 2, N. Arnold 0, Edes-King 0, Eller 0

Shannon 10, Alley 6, James 6, Mott 6, Terrell 3, Jennings 1, Eckerson 2, Satterly 4.

Johnson Co. 9 10 17 17 — 55
Montrose Co. 15 9 7 7 — 36
3-point goals—JC 4 (Lewis 2, Icenhour 2) MC 4 (Ally, Jones, Terrell, Mott)

5th Place Game
Johnson County 90, Moffitt County 63

Atwood 31, Lewis 21, Icenhour 11, N. Arnold 9, Edes-King 9, Eller 5, Bower 4, T. Arnold 2. Reece 0, Phillips 0

Cook 15, Brewer 10, Serranton 7, Brennuse 3, Cheron 8, Murphy 7, Reed 8, Najeria 5

Johnson Co. 29 26 16 19 — 90
Moffitt Co. 20 16 17 10 —- 63
3-point goals—JC 11 (Lewis 4, Atwood 3, Icenhour 3, N. Arnold) MC 7 (Cheron 2, Reed 2, Murphy, Cook, Najeria)



Lady Longorns fall to Dobyns-Bennett 66-44

JC’s Taylor Cox #13 scores on a drive against D-B’s Megan Ayers #3.

By Tim Chambers

The Lady Longhorns played a strong first quarter but Dobyns-Bennett put together a Charles Atlas-type second frame. The Lady Indians outscored Johnson County 24-7 in the second period that propelled them to a 65-44 win on Tuesday night inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium.
The game was tied at 11-11 after the first quarter but D-B started the second one on a 10-0 run. Head coach Leon Tolley said his Lady Longhorns couldn’t match that intensity.
“We knew they would up the pressure in the second quarter and they did,” said Tolley. “The disappointing thing was we backed off and shied away from it after attacking them in the first quarter. You play teams like this to get ready for your conference schedule. I thought after Friday’s win they would really come out feeling good about themselves and work hard. I have to catch myself and temper my enthuasism and remember we’re a work in progress. There are going to be some bumps in the road. Anybody that plays D-B is going to have a bump in the road.”
The ride might have been even smoother if they hadn’t been minus one of their key starters who was sidelined with a concussion.
It didn’t seem to matter after they got clicking.
Johnson County led 5-2 on a basket by Courtney Brooks and 11-9 after Sadie Stout canned a long trey. Ta-Tionna White’s basket at the buzzer tied the game at 11-all.
The Indians never trailed again in the game.

Missed opportunities open up the flood gates for D-B
The Indians pushed the lead at 21-11 before a three-ball by freshman Emmy Miller ended the run. That was as close as the Lady Horns would get as D-B doubled the score 32-16 by going on its second run of 11-1.
The Lady Longhorns trailed 35-18 at the half and could never get the deficit back under double-digits.
White finished the game with 22 points and eight rebounds, 15 points in the final quarter for D-B. The Lady Longhorns defense held Division 1 prospect Courtney Whitson to just 11 points. She did however have five rebounds, four assists and four steals which is the mark of a complete player. Lilly Griffith also had 11 points, five assists and four steals.
The Lady Longhorns turned the ball over 30 times, 20 off of steals.
Courtney Brooks and Stout led the scoring with 13 points each. Taylor Parsons added six points and a team high nine rebounds. Emmy Miller had five points and five rebounds. Taylor Cox finished with five points and three steals. Natalie Winters scored a basket and had three steals.

Coach Tolley’s final comments
Tolley wasn’t pleased with the high number of turnovers or missed easy shots. The Longhorns had 10 layups that didn’t fall.
“As usual, we were our own worst enemy,” added Tolley. “Turnovers and missed layups killed us. Those opportunities we had around the basket and free throws make or break you in close games. That could have narrowed the margin some, but we go back to our youth and the first thing they want to do is take the easy way out. We pick up our dribble and other stuff. That’s why we don’t convert some of the shots. ‘’
Tolley did see a few bright spots against one of the elite powerhouses in Northeast Tennessee.
“We had some positives despite all the negatives. We played a very athletic team and competed for a while. I guess I expect too much because I wanted to win. I keep reminding myself we are a work in progress. Building a good program is never easy.”
Dobyns-Bennett 65,
Johnson County 44

Dobyns-Bennett (65)
White 22, Whitson 11, L. Griffith 11, Potts 6, Francis 7, Wallace 6, B. Griffith 2

Johnson County (44)
B, Brooks 13, Stout 13, Parsons 6, E. Miller 5, Cox 5,Hall 0, Peele 2, B. Brooks 0, Winters 2, Cornett 0

D-B 11 24 12 19 — 66
J.C. 11 7 8 18 — 44
3-point goals—JC 3 (Stout 2, Miller) DB 2 (Potts, Francis)


Youth League basketball results

C-Team Results
Mountain City 1 defeats Roan Creek 1 (19-7)
MC 1 (19)
Hunter McElyea 14, Evan Stamper 2, Avery Blevins 3

RC1 (7)
Konner Stines 7

Roan Creet 2 defeats Mountain City 5 (20-0)
RC2 (20)
Grayson Day 14, Audrey Shaw 2, Grayson Espinoza 4

MC 5 (0)

Mountain City 3 defeats Mtn City 5 (16-10)
Mountain City 3 (16)
Sawyer Marshall 12, Bobby Sexton 2, Gavin Mahala 2

Mountain City 5 (10)
Caiden Simpler 2, Madelyn Weger 6, Peyton Eadsking 2

Roan Creek 2 defeats Roan Creek 1 (15-2)
Roan Creek 2 (15)
Grayson Day 8, Audrey Shaw 5, Grayson Espenoza 2

Roan Creek 1 (2)
Konner Stines 2

Mountain City 2 defeats Mountain City 1 (10-8)
Mountain City 2 (10)
Gauge Grissom 6, Scottie Orndorf 2, Mason Luckett 2

Mountain City 1 (8)
Avery Blevins 2, Hunter McElyea 6

B-Team Results

Mtn. City 1 defeats Roan Creek 1 (24-17)
Mountain City 1 (24)
Isaiah 6, Braxton Bragg 4, Dylan Warren 10, Ryler Henson 2, Eli Stamper 2

Roan Creek (17)
JoJo Church 6, Josh Potter 9, Sammy Seivers 2;

Roan Creet 2 defeats Mtn. City 1 (17-14)
Roan Creek 2 (17)
Landon Lipford 11, Gunner Hutchins 6

Mtn. City 1 (14)
Isaiah Santiago 4, Braxton Bragg 3, Dylan Warren 7

Mountain City 1 defeats Roan Creek (26-13)
Mountain City 1 (26)
Braden Eastridge 12, Lexie Proffitt 6, Landon Snyder 4, Sarah Johnson 2, Izzy Thompson 2

Roan Creek (13)
Sarah Icenhour 2, Harley Wykle 7, Desierea Robinson 4

Roan Creek defeats Laurel (28-12)
Roan Creek (28)
Sarah Icenhour 14, Harley Wykle 2, Emma Eller 4, Desirea Robinson 6, Mia Flores 2;

Laurel (12)
Aden Thomas 4, Brooklyn Sexton 2, Shayden Keith 3, Kailahan Webster 3

Mountain City 2 defeats Laurel (19-8)
Mountain City 2 (19)
Sierra Green 11, Alysaa McElroy 6, Samantha Reece 2

Laurel (8)
Kailahan Webster 4, Shadyen Keith 2, Tristan Dunn 2

A-Team Results

Roan Creek 2 defeated Doe 1 (31-14)
Roan Creek 2 (31)
Jackson Baker 4, Isaiah Fenner 6, Noah Eastridge 16, Tyler Seatz 3, Elijah Anderson 2

Doe 1 (14)
Colton Arnold 2, McKenzie Kelly 4, Tyler 4, Luke Warlock 4

Roan Creek 1 defeats Roan Creek 2 (41-20)
Roan Creek 1 (41)
Connor Simcox 6, Dalton Pope 15, Eli Dickens 8, Brayden Cannon 3, James Potter 9

Roan Creek 2 (20)
Isaiah Fenner 6, Noah Eastridge 8, Tyler Seatz 6

JCMS Horns bombard Happy Valley Warriors 49-36

JCMS’ Gavin Ward #10 scored a game high 23 points against Happy Valley.

By Tim Chambers

Like Dennis the menace was to Mr. Wilson, Gavin Ward proved to be a thorn in the side of Happy Valley on Thursday on top of Warrior Hill. Ward fired in a game high 23 points while leading Johnson County to a 49-36 win over the junior high Warriors.
The victory was their second of the season over Happy Valley and kept them in the hunt for a possible league championship should they knock off Hampton and Chuckey-Doak.
Ward’s contributions were a huge factor in the Longhorns’ win. He scored seven of their nine second-quarter points to keep them in front by eight. They broke the game open behind his 10 third-quarter points that extended their advantage to a baker’s dozen.
Happy Valley tried to carve into the deficit behind its “Zack attack” of Zac Workman and Zack Stephens who combined to score 10 points in the final frame. The Longhorns countered with six fourth-quarter points by Zack Parsons and five more from Corie Neely to prevent that from happening.
Ward had five rebounds and three steals to go along with his game high 23 points to lead the Longhorns. They also got nine points, six rebounds and five steals from Neely. Parsons provided eight points and a game high 10 rebounds. Big John Stout chipped in with seven points and seven rebounds. Preston Greer closed out their scoring with four points.
Andrew Little and Workman scored nine points each for the Warriors.

Happy Valley 36
Johnson County 8
Johnson County couldn’t find any offense, allowing Happy Valley to come away with a lopsided victory. The Lady Longhorns scored six points in the first quarter and only two for the remainder of the game.
Lizzy Barnes, Macie Luckett and Sydni Potter had two points apiece for the Longhorns.
Katie Woods scored a game high 12 points for the Lady Warriors.

JV Boys
Johnson County 24
Happy Valley 22
The Longhorns led 20-4 going into the fourth quarter but Happy Valley erupted for 18 points to nearly pull off a remarkable upset victory.
Christian Lipford led the Horns with 10 points. Payton Pavusek added five points. Graham Reece, Dominic Kelly and Skylar Lawson had a basket each. Nick Speed closed out the scoring with three points.
James Murray led the Warriors with seven points.

JV Girls
Happy Valley 22
Johnson County 12
Cadie Hall nearly outscored the entire Johnson County squad with 11 points to lead the Warriors to its win. Kelsie Bailey added five points to help their cause.
Ryleigh Icenhour played well, scoring six points for the Longhorns. Peyton Gentry, Marissa Summerow and Brookanna Hutchins scored two points apiece.


Unaka Rangers lasso Lady Longhorns 59-43

By Tim Chambers

Johnson County found the going tough against a well-coached Unaka squad who should make the state rankings when the polls come out. The Lady Longhorns played hard from start to finish before falling 59-43 on Tuesday night inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium.
JCHS’ head coach Leon Tolley praised the Unaka squad for playing the way they did. He found a few positives in his own team’s overall play.
“That’s the best team we’ve played so far and one of the best that we’ll play all year,” said Tolley. “That team has a chance to go down the road. I told Coach Kenneth Chambers that they might be the most rounded group he’s had in years. If you’re not coaching against them, they are fun to watch. We got tired in the second half because I didn’t sub as much, but we can take some positives from this game. I liked our effort at times, but we have a whole lot of work to do to get where we want to be.”
Rapid Ranger start
The Longhorns defense had trouble shutting down the red hot shooting of Sarah Tipton in the first half. The senior guard tallied 15 first half points including shooting 4-for-4 from behind the three-point line.
The Rangers hit four treys in the first quarter and built up a 16-7 advantage. Taylor Parsons knocked down a three-ball for Johnson County in the final seconds that left them trailing 16-10 after one.
The Lady Horns fought valiantly in the second quarter to stay in the game. Tipton matched Johnson County’s nine-point total by hitting a pair of treys and three free throws. Despite her efforts, the Longhorns held the rest of the Rangers in check and stayed within eight at 27-19 after two quarters.
Unaka held the Longhorns to only seven third quarter points and stretched their lead to 19 after three. Myah Parlier worked the inside for 10 points. Sydney Markland and Savannah Tipton added treys for the Rangers who shot 7-for-14 in the quarter.
Parsons tried to get the Longhorns going in the fourth quarter with six points and five rebounds with the help of five points by Sadie Stout including a three-ball.
The Rangers kept them from doing so thanks to three treys by Lexi Garland in the final period.
Statistical leaders
Parsons led the Longhorns with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Taylor Cox had a great game off the bench with 10 points, five rebounds and three steals. Stout managed eight points and six rebounds. Emmy Miller had five points and six rebounds. Courtney Brooks, five points and two by Adrian Hall closed out Johnson County’s scoring.
The Rangers placed three players in double figures. Tipton scored all of her 15 points in the first half. Garland added 11 points with nine coming in the fourth quarter. Parlier added 10 points and 11 rebounds and Erika Potter contributed eight.
The Lady Rangers shot a sizzling 50 percent, 11-of-22 from behind the three-point line.
Tolley saved his best analogy about the game for last.
“It’s not where we want to be by any means, but it’s a whole lot better than what I saw on Monday night. We didn’t show up over at Wilkes.”

Unaka 59, Johnson County 43

UNAKA (59)
Sar. Tipton 15, Garland 11, Parlier 10, Potter 8, Markland 6, Sar. Tipton 6, Grindstaff 3, Forney 0, Whitehead 0

Parsons 13, Cox 10, Stout 8, E. Miller 5, C. Brooks 5, Hall 2, Winters 0, Peele 0, B. Miller 0, B. Brooks 0.

Unaka 16 11 17 15 — 59
J.C. 10 9 7 17 — 43
3-point goals—Unaka 11 (Sar. Tipton 4, Garland 3, Sav. Tipton 2, Markland 2). JC 4 (Stout 2, Parsons, C. Brooks)


Longhorns romp past Unaka Rangers 80-35

JC’s Taylor Parsons #22 shoots over Unaka’s Cydney Forney #13.

By Tim Chambers

The fat lady had already sung, closed her songbook and went home by halftime of Johnson County’s game with Unaka. The boys scored early and often in their impressive 80-35 win over the Rangers inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium on Tuesday.
Head coach Austin Atwood was pleased with the way his team sprang out of the gate. He said it’s something they have done well lately.
“We shot the ball well in the first half and got the big lead,” said Atwood. “I felt like we carried that over into the third quarter. Everybody got into the game and that’s always a good thing. Unaka’s trying to rebuild and they’ll get that done. Coach Aaron Dugger does a great job with them. I thought they played hard the whole way.”

Double Trouble
Things didn’t go well for Unaka from the outset. Two baskets by Bud Icenhour and Sean Lewis’ three-point play helped the Horns take a 7-0 advantage in the first two minutes of the game.
Lewis fired in nine points and Blake Atwood tallied a half dozen, helping Johnson County build a 22-10 advantage after one.
The Longhorns would continue to double the score in the second frame. They outscored the Rangers 24-11 and were comfortably in front 46-21 at the half.
Lewis had 15 points by intermission and Atwood provided 11 more. The Longhorns also got a lift from Zack Eller who scored five points in the frame.
The halftime lead grew to 25 after Jordan Edes-King converted two deuces in the paint and Nathan Arnold drilled a three-ball.
The Rangers had no answer for Johnson County’s offense which dominated play in the third quarter.

Bench Strength
The Longhorns got some strong play from Lucas Phillips and Gavin Reece during the third quarter that enabled them to extend their lead.
Phillips provided a pair of treys and Reece tallied five points including a trey.
Their lead was a whopping 66-27 going into the fourth quarter. The continuous clock rule was put in place during the final eight minutes of the game.

Game leaders
Lewis led the way with 17 points and Atwood added 16 in two quarters of work. Icenhour finished with nine, Phillips provided eight and Reece seven. A dozen Longhorns got in the scoring column.
Hill was the only Ranger in double figures with 15.
It was the fifth straight win for the Longhorns who are now 5-0 on the season.

Johnson County 80, Unaka 35

UNAKA (35)
Hill 15, Ramsey 6, Johnson 3, King 2, Sexton 1, Wright 2, Drew 2, Burke 2, Ensor 2.

Lewis 17, Atwood 16, Icenhour 9, Edes-King 5, N. Arnold 3, Phillips 8, Reece 7, Eller 4, T. Arnold 3, Rash 3, Isaacs 3, Bower 2.

Unaka 10 11 6 8 — 35
Jo nson Co. 22 24 20 14 — 80
3-point goals—Unaka 4 (Ramsey 2, Hill, Johnson). JC 7 (Phillips 2, Icenhour, Atwood, N. Arnold, Isaacs, Reece)



JCHS Longhorns rally past Elizabethton Cyclones 50-49

JC’s Zack Eller #30 looks surveys the EHS defense.

By Tim Chambers

ELIZABETHTON—Winning ugly was never more beautiful than Friday night inside of Treadway Gymnasium. Bud Icenhour sank one of two free throws with 9.2 seconds remaining, allowing Johnson County to escape with a 50-49 win over Elizabethton.
Things didn’t look good for the Longhorns in the final minute after watching their fourth quarter lead vanish. Eric Wilson triggered an 8-0 run that pushed ‘Betsy in front 49-45 with 1:35 remaining in the game.
Longhorns’ head coach Austin Atwood agreed his team could have folded at that point but found a way to win despite not playing their best basketball.
“We feel fortunate to get out of here with a conference win,” said Atwood. “We started the game out well and got a double-digit lead. Bud hit some big shots early, but we made some mistakes and didn’t play well after that. We got away from what we were doing and they had a lot to do with it. We allowed them to hang around and it almost cost us at the end. We had been putting teams away when we had the chance, but tonight we couldn’t do it. You learn from everything you do, so we’ll learn from this.”
The Horns needed a spark at that point and Jordan Edes-King was there to ignite it. He slashed inside the paint for a basket that got them within two; then Blake Atwood tied it by sinking two free throws with 55 seconds remaining.
Elizabethton had an opportunity to hold the ball for the final shot but the Longhorns’ defense forced a turnover with 38 seconds remaining. Johnson County controlled the basketball until Icenhour was fouled.
He hit the first charity toss that proved to be the game winner.
Smart play pays off in the final seconds
The Longhorns had two fouls to give before Elizabethton was in the bonus. They used those fouls wisely, forcing the Cyclones to inbound the ball 75 feet away with 4.7 seconds remaining.
Wilson drove the court and launched an off-balanced desperation shot that was well off the mark, allowing the Longhorns to escape with the victory.
Fast Start
The Longhorn scored the game’s first five points on a deuce by Sean Lewis and a three-ball from Icenhour. They extended that to 15-3 only to see the Cyclones reel off 10 consecutive points that got them within two at 15-13.
The half continued to be one of runs.
Johnson County surged to a 24-13 advantage, getting a three-ball by Icenhour and two jumpers from Atwood that capped off a 9-0 run. Elizabethton closed the half on a 10-3 run that left them trailing 27-23 at intermission.
Hard luck Cyclones hang in there
The Cyclones outscored Johnson County 14-10 in the third quarter to knot the game at 37-all heading into the final quarter. It was a gutsy performance by ‘Betsy who suffered some misfortunes before the season began.
Corey Russell who had started at guard for two seasons decided not to play after football ended. Carter Everett, the team’s tallest player, was lost for the season with a torn ACL suffered in their last football game.
Key Contributors
Icenhour led the Longhorns with 13 points including four treys. Atwood added 12 points. Lewis and Edes-King each contributed seven. Nathan Arnold led the team in rebounding with eight.
Perhaps the biggest spark came from Zack Eller. The sharp-shooting guard scored eight points including two treys. He was 3-of-4 from the field.
Troy Arnold collected four rebounds and did some valuable dirty work in the paint. He scored two points and altered a couple of shots. Lewis led the defense with three steals.
Wilson scored a game high 17 points for Elizabethton. Even Perkins added a dozen. Parker Hughes and Nico Ashley provided nine apiece.
What’s Next
This was the Three Rivers Conference opener for both teams. The Longhorns played Dobyns-Bennett for the first time ever inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium on Tuesday. They will fly to Colorado on Thursday to take part in the Steamboat Classic for three days.

Johnson County 50, Elizabethton 49

Icenhour 13, Atwood 12, Lewis 7, Edes-King 7, N. Arnold 1, Eller 8, T. Arnold 2.

Wilson 17, Perkins 12, Hughes 9, Ashley 9, Cornett 2

Johnson Co. 15 12 10 13 — 50
Elizabethton 13 10 14 12 — 49
3-point goals—JC 6 (Icenhour 4, Eller 2) Eliz 5 (Perkins 3, Wilson, Ashley)

It’s been a tough week for middle school Longhorns

JCMS’ Corie Neely #4 goes high to score a basket against C-Doak.

By Tim Chambers

Total collapse on Fairground Lane resembled nightmare on Elm Street for Johnson County Middle School over the past week. The boys lost to Hampton and Chuckey-Doak after defeating Cloudland on Tuesday.

The girls won a big contest over Chuckey-Doak but dropped a pair of games to Cloudland and Hampton.

Hampton 44
Johnson County 37
The Junior Longhorns started out fast and jumped on top 10-2 only to see the Bulldogs battle back. Gavin Ward helped the Horns go up early by scoring six points in the quarter. John Stout had a couple of nice putbacks as did Zack Parsons.
The Horns took a 16-11 lead after one when Preston Greer swished a three at the buzzer.
Hampton gave up five offensive rebounds in the opening frame but corrected that during the second quarter.
They held the Longhorns to only one three-point goal and outscored the home team 12-3.
Isaiah McCoury had a pair of treys that helped the Dogs take a 23-19 halftime advantage.
The Bulldogs maintained its lead during the third quarter with the help of R.J. Tolley’s three-ball and two baskets each from Morgan Lyons and Logan Whitehead.
Corie Neely’s runner at the buzzer kept Johnson County within five after three but they couldn’t whittle into the deficit during the final stanza.
The Longhorns closed the gap down to four with the help of six points by Neely, but a three-point play by Lyons is just enough to stall their comeback effort.
McCoury led a well-balanced Bulldog attack with eight points. Lyons added seven points and 10 rebounds. Connor Jones tallied seven points and three assists. Tolley had a strong game with five points, two steals and two assists.
Zack Parsons led the Longhorns with 10 points and 11 boards. Ward had a good night with nine points while Neely chipped in with eight. Preston Greer, 6 points and John Stout, 4 points rounded out Johnson County’s scoring.

Hampton 38
Johnson County 30
The Lady Longhorns trailed by 22 points in the second half but rallied to get within single digits at the end.
Hampton trailed 8-4 after one but outscored the Longhorns 17-8 in the second quarter to go up 21-16 at the half.
Johnson County’s inability to score in the third quarter proved to be costly. Hampton doubled the score by outscoring them 15-2 in the frame.
The Dogs led 37-18 heading into the final quarter.
Macey Luckett led their comeback efforts by swishing two long treys to start the fourth period. Baskets by Gracie Grayson, Savannah McKinney and Jacey Eshleman got it under 10 but they couldn’t get any closer.
Luckett and Sydni Potter led the Longhorns with seven points. McKinney added six points and Eshleman provided four.
Kenzie Ramey scored a game high 14 points for the Lady Bulldogs. Maggie Dugger added 13 points and seven rebounds.. Bre Davis collected six.

Johnson County 38
Chuckey-Doak 35
The Lady Longhorns trailed by one going into the fourth quarter but outscored the Black Knights 14 to 10 to pull out a close win.
Macey Luckett poured in 17 points to spark the Horns to its big victory. Jacey Eshleman added 12 points and six rebounds. Sydni Potter finished with six points while Kristen Day provided two.

Chuckey-Doak 44
Johnson County 40
Johnson County inability to knock down some short-range jumpers allowed Chuckey-Doak to steal away a victory from them.
The Longhorns placed three players in double figures. Zack Parsons led the way with 12 points. Corie Neely added 11 points and John Stout chipped in with 10. Preston Greer (5 points) Gavin Ward (4 points), Nate Rice 3 points and 1 by Dillon Kelly rounded out the Longhorns’ scoring.
Cody Fleshour and Caden Tulock tallied 13 and 10 points respectively for the Black Knights.

Johnson County 50
Cloudland 41
A big win over the Highlanders prevented the Horns from coming up empty-handed in the trio of games they played last week.
Corie Neely had a big night scoring 16 points. Gavin Ward played lights-out by tallying 13 points. Preston Greer reached double figures with 10. Zack Parson logged eight points and nine rebounds.
Caleb Sluder led the Highlanders with 19 points.

Cloudland 46
Johnson County 26
The Lady Highlanders were never challenged in this one.
Sydni Potter and Jacey Eshleman had eight points apiece for Johnson County. Savannah Mckinney provided six and Macey Luckett collected four.
Taylor Hicks and Karah Field scored 20 and 19 points respectively for the Highlanders.



Historic Horns edge Elizabethton’s Lady Cyclones 55-54

JC’s Courtney Brooks #20 tries to drive past Elizabethton’s Kaylen Shell #24.

By Tim Chambers

ELIZABETHTON— Hard work and dedication are often rewarded and that was the case on Friday night for the Lady Longhorns. Head coach Leon Tolley and his staff trotted out a completely overhauled squad that would have made “Bob the Builder” proud inside of Treadway Gymnasium.
The Lady Longhorns shocked Cyclones fans with a stunning 55-54 win, in what is believed to be their first ever win over Elizabethton in girls’ basketball.
It didn’t come easy down the stretch for Johnson County who had built a comfortable 51-37 advantage with 5:31 remaining in the game. Elizabethton battled back by going on a 17-4 run to get within one with 25 seconds remaining but found them behind the eight ball.
The Cyclones had three fouls to give before Johnson County could be sent to the line in an effort to get the ball back. The Lady Horns ran the clock down to 0.7 seconds before reaching the charity stripe. A stunned Cyclone crowd could only watch as pandemonium broke out among the Johnson County fans and players.
“We had a tough time Monday and Tuesday due to some internal issues, but they’ve worked hard all week to try and correct that,” said veteran coach Leon Tolley in his first year at the helm for Johnson County. “It’s like that old saying, ‘How do you eat an elephant? You do it one bite at a time.’ We’re not going to change this thing overnight, but tonight is huge because we needed a win and we’ve never won down here. Even though we gave up some baskets down the stretch, we still made a few big plays at the end. The girls are extremely proud of themselves and I hope it will carry over. I am very proud of them too.”
Rewind the clock
It’s been a remarkable turnaround from over the past two years. The Longhorns started two freshmen, two sophomores and a senior against the Cyclones. Their first three players off the bench were all sophomores. Each made a significant contribution in the win.
The Lady Horns lost at Elizabethton 74-34 last year and 98-26 two seasons ago. Who would have seen this coming back then?
Tight first half
The game was a tight-fisted affair over the first 16 minutes. A couple of baskets by freshman Emmy Miller and a nice feed from Adrian Hall to Britain Peele that resulted in a three-point play left Johnson County trailing 12-11 after one.
Freshman Sadie Stout kept the youth movement in place by scoring a half dozen points in the second quarter. Her three-ball just before halftime helped whittle what was a seven-point deficit down to 24-22 at intermission.
Game changer
Johnson County started the third quarter off with a bang that swung the momentum in their favor. Stout’s three-ball gave them a 26-24 lead that got the rally going; then Abby Cornett followed with a pair of deuces that prevented Elizabethton from taking the lead.
Courtney Brooks had a pair of baskets to keep them in front after Elizabethton had cut it back down to one.
Miller closed the quarter with four points that capped off a 9-3 run. Johnson County led 43-36 after three.
More Lady Longhorns step up
Sophomore Taylor Cox hit a pair of big shots to start the fourth quarter. She scored the first five points in the frame including a long trey that put them up by an even dozen at 48-26 with 6:25 remaining.
The freshman combination of Stout to Miller gave them their largest lead at 51-37 with 5:30 remaining.
Taylor Parsons had a clutch basket down the stretch that kept the Lady Horns in front by three at 55-49. Shell’s three-point play and Little’s basket got ‘Betsy within one, but the Longhorns attempt to put the ball in the deep freeze proved successful in the final 25 seconds.
The freshmen duo of Miller and Stout was definitely a deciding factor. Miller provided 15 points and five rebounds. Stout added nine points and six rebounds. Parsons had seven points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots. Cox contributed five points, three rebounds and a steal.
Senior leadership
The play of Courtney Brooks was huge throughout the contest. She finished with 13 points and ran the offense masterfully from her point guard position.

Final stats
It was the first Three Rivers Conference game for both teams. Johnson County is now 2-3 overall while Elizabethton falls to 2-4.
Kaylen Shell scored a game high 19 points for Elizabethton. Freshman Morgan Headrick added 15 points and seven rebounds.
The Lady Longhorns will be idle after Tuesday’s game with Dobyns-Bennett until Thursday, December 14. They travel to Unaka on that night and on to Unicoi County on Friday.

Johnson County 55, Elizabethton 54

E. Miller 15, C. Brooks 13, Stout 9, Parsons 7, Cox 5, Cornett 4, Peele 3, Hall 0, Winters 0. B. Brooks 0, B. Miller 0.

Shell 19, Headrick 15, Little 7, Winters 6, Roberts 3, Townsend 3, Koroma 2.

Johnson Co. 11 12 20 12 — 55
Elizabethton 12 12 12 19 — 54
3-point goals—JC 3 (Stout 2, C. Brooks) Eliz 6 (Shell 2, Townsend, Winters, Little, Roberts)


Longhorn Game Briefs


Johnson County 69

West Wilkes, NC 56

The Longhorns crossed over the state line to pick up a win over West Wilkes on Monday 69-56. The game was never close as the Horns built a 38-15 halftime advantage then coasted to the win.

Blake Atwood led the scoring with 23 points. Bud Icenhour added 12 points on four treys and Sean Lewis collected 10. Jordan Edes-King and Nathan Arnold provided seven each while Zack Eller chipped in with a half dozen.

Jacob Brown and Jaden Wentz had 11 points each for West Wilkes. Isaac Bumgarner chipped in with 10.



West Wilkes 57

Johnson County 36

Johnson County fell behind 21-5 after the first quarter and never recovered. They were outscored 14-3 in the third quarter and trailed 45-19.

Taylor Parsons scored seven points as no Lady Longhorn reached double figures. Abby Cornett and Sadie Stout collected six points each.


Middle School


Johnson County 59

Ashe County 7

Every player scored in Johnson County’s lopsided win over Ashe.

Corie Neely tallied a game high 13 points in limited playing time. Seth Condor added 10 while Hunter Wilson chipped in with eight.



Johnson County 23

Ashe County 14

Jacey Eshelman scored eight points leading Johnson County to victory in a low scoring affair. Sydni Potter and Kristen added four points each.




Lady Landers squeak by Longhorns 48-46

JC’s Taylor Parsons #22 scores with with Cloudland’s Megan Lunsford #24 defending.

By Tim Chambers

A very good Cloudland team found the going tough unlike in years past at Johnson County. The Lady Longhorns took the Landers down to the wire before falling 48-46 inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium on Tuesday.
The Longhorns had a chance to tie with .06 seconds remaining but missed a pair of free throws. Head coach Leon Tolley summed up the contest in addition to praising their overall effort.
“You’re never pleased with a loss, but that team beat us by 59 points last year,” said Tolley. “We got the lead and we got afraid because we’ve not played with the lead a whole lot. It’s all a step in the process. The effort and willingness to compete is there, but we just have to fine tune some things. I like the way we’re progressing and I’m as proud of them as I can be.”
Johnson County came out sizzling in the first quarter behind the red hot shooting of Adrian Hall.
The sophomore opened the game with a long three and scored seven of the Longhorns’ first nine points. Her baskets and one each from sophomores Taylor Parsons and Taylor Cox allowed them to surge in front 14-9 after one.
Things didn’t go as well in the second quarter for the Horns. A three-point play by freshman Sadie Stout were the only points they could muster.
Kenzie Birchfield tallied eight points including two treys helping Cloudland outscore the Longhorns 13-3. They led 22-17 at the half.
The Longhorns got some strong play by senior point guard Courtney Brooks and Stout to edge closer in the third stanza. Brooks tallied six points and Stout added five, helping them outscore the Lady Landers 15-11.
Stout’s three-point play in the final seconds left the Horns trailing by a slim 33-32 margin going into the final quarter.
Johnson County was never able to take the lead but they did pull even at one point. They tied the game at 35-all on a pair of Parsons’ free throws with 5:10 remaining.
Cloudland appeared to have the game well in hand after going on a 9-2 run that enabled them to lead 44-37 with 2:59 remaining. Somebody forgot to tell that to the Lady Steers.
They got a huge three-ball from Brittany Brooks that started their comeback bid. Free throws down the stretch from Stout and Cox got Johnson County within two with 58 seconds showing.
Natalie Winters made a great hustle play near midcourt in the final seconds, giving Johnson County a chance to tie.
That play defined Johnson County’s will to win and never-quit attitude down the stretch.
Parsons led the Longhorns with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Stout followed with 10 points and six boards. Hall and Courtney Brooks rang up seven points apiece.
“We’ve got some great coaching now so we’re trying to get better,” said Parsons. “Losing to them hurts because they beat us bad last year.”
Megan Lunsford had a game high 15 points for Cloudland. Birchfield added 11 points including three treys.
Cloudland 48, Johnson County 46

Lunsford 15, K. Birchfield 11, Wilson 6, Gouge 4, J. Birchfield 4, Vines 4, Fields 4

Parsons 12, Stout 10, C. Brooks 7, Hall 7, Cox 5, B. Brooks 3, Nichols 2, Cornett 0, E. Miller 0, Winters 0, Peele 0, B. Miller 0.

Cloudland 9 13 11 15 — 48
Johnson Co. 14 3 15 14 — 46
3-point goals—Cloudland 6 (Lunsford 3, K. Birchfield 3) JC 2 (Hall, B. Brooks)


Johnson County Longhorns hammer Cloudland Highlanders

JC’s Blake Atwood #11 converts a runner against the Landers.

By Tim Chambers

It’s only fitting to describe Johnson County’s first-half performance versus Cloudland with an old George Jones song. They were hotter than a two-dollar pistol and the fastest thing around.
The Longhorns shot a sizzling 50 percent from the floor for the game and sprinted to 48 first-half points that led to their 80-55 blowout win inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium.
The Horn played well in Saturday’s win over Daniel Boone and continued the trend on Tuesday against the Landers.
Head coach Austin Atwood touched on his team’s play and their fast start that offset some pretty good shooting by the Landers.
“I actually thought we defended pretty well, but Cloudland couldn’t miss early,” said Atwood. “They scored 17 points in the first five minutes, but we told our kids to stay after it. We finally started attacking things in the middle and got some inside-outside passes that gave up some good looks from behind the three-point line. We were able to knock down shots and we’re pretty when we shoot well. I thought a lot of our kids stepped up and played some good minutes.”

Atwood hit the nail on the head because the Landers made 5-of-7 shots from the floor to start the game. They sprinted to a 10-2 lead and were up 15-6 on Malachi Benfield’s baskets at the four-minute mark.
Johnson County began to whittle away after Robert Leeper’s basket gave Cloudland a 17-8 cushion.
Blake Atwood turned a steal into a layup, followed by a three-point play from Jordan Edes-King.
Troy Arnold gave the Longhorns their first lead at 19-17 by scoring in the paint with 50 seconds remaining. Bud Icenhour’s three-ball with 19 seconds showing allowed Johnson County to extend their lead at 22-17 after one.
That margin would grow to a baker’s dozen by intermission.
Icenhour and Atwood did most of the damage by shooting the lights out during the eight-minute stretch.

Atwood tallied 10 points including 8-of-8 from the foul line. Icenhour, who was celebrating his 18th birthday, did one better by hitting three treys and a deuce for 11 points. He was honored before the game for scoring his 1,000th point during the Hall of Fame game last week.
Gavin Reece put the Horns up 48-28 with a late three-ball, but Cloudland closed the half on a 7-0 run.
They still trailed 48-35 at the half.
“We didn’t close the first half out the way we needed to, but we played pretty good other than that,” said Icenhour. “We’ve been putting extra work in after practice and that’s been a big plus. We can be a good team when we shoot well and defend. I thought we did those things pretty well tonight.”
Johnson County doubled up on Cloudland in the third quarter by outscoring the visitors 16-8. Sean Lewis, Edes-King and Atwood had a deuce each in the final two minutes and Icenhour bagged another three.
They led 64-43 heading into the final quarter.
Johnson County continued its torrid shooting and built the lead to 30 on a long three by Lucas Phillips.
Atwood and Icenhour led the way, scoring 25 and 21 points respectively. Edes-King added 11 points and five rebounds. Lewis dished out a game high seven assists and scored six points.
Coffey had 14 points and Leeper added 12 to pace Cloudland.
Johnson County 80, Cloudland 55

Coffey 14, Leeper 12, J. Blair 5, H. Blair 4, Perrigory 4, Johnson 3, Boone 2, Shell 2, Gilbert 3, Benfield 3, Birchfield 3

Atwood 25, Icenhour 21, Edes-King 11, Lewis 6, Reece 6, T. Arnold 4, Phillips 3, Isaacs 3, Cunningham 1, N. Arnold 0, Eller 0, N. Winters 0, Rash 0

Cloudland 17 18 8 12 — 55
Johnson Co. 22 26 16 16 — 80
3-point goals—Cloud 7 (Coffey 3, Johnson, J. Blair, Benfield, Birchfield) JC 9 (Icenhour 5, Reece 2, Phillips, Isaacs)


Longhorns dominate Tomahawk’s Super 16 Team

By Tim Chambers

Trying to pick an elite football squad among players from Johnson and Carter Counties was a difficult task in 2017. Johnson County and Elizabethton spent the entire year ranked near the top in the state’s 3A and 4A polls respectively. The Longhorns finished at No. 3 while the Cyclones were penciled in at No. 5 after 10 games.
Cloudland closed the regular season ranked No. 8 in Class 1A and Happy Valley stayed ranked in the 2A poll for nine weeks before falling out.
All the above made the playoffs and each of them won a first round game. Hampton was also included in the playoff mix.
A lot of good players showcased their talents under the Friday night lights and many of them were deserving of post-season honors.
A great number of them were tabbed to their leagues’ All-Conference teams but the following unit is an upgrade from that.
The Tomahawk’s Super 16 squad is comprised of two eight packs of players plus Coach of the Year honors. Each of these should gather some consideration when the All-State teams are selected.
A panel of sportswriters looked at nearly 40 players before our final selection was made. Three area newspapers were represented.
Johnson County placed five players on the team after being the only area squad to go 10-0 during the regular season. Elizabethton earned four spots while Happy Valley collected three. Cloudland and Hampton each received two and Unaka had the final spot due to a tie.
The Longhorn quintet consisted of Nathan Arnold, Hayden Osborne, Shane Greer, Jordan Edes-King and Tyler Norris being named.
Arnold completed 152-of-245 passes for 2112 yards and 22 touchdowns. He was Co-Player of the Year in the Mountain Six Conference.
Osborne racked up 157 tackles in 12 games including 14 sacks and 13 for losses. He also blocked an extra point against Northview Academy in the first round of the playoffs to preserve their win. He was defensive player of the year in the Mountain Six Conference and Johnson City Press’ elite 11 team.
Greer had 55 receptions for 1102 yards and averaged 20 yards per catch. He too was named on every ballot. Edes-King logged 95 tackles at defensive end and 10 sacks. He was also valuable as a tight end on offense and started at tackle the final three games due to an injury. All four are seniors.
Norris is the final Longhorns to be named. The junior linebacker collected 133 tackles and 11 sacks.
Elizabethton’s quartet is made up of Carter Everett, Corey Russell, Ryan Wetzel and Cameron Coleman.
Everett put up some massive numbers by throwing for 2734 yards and 33 touchdowns. He completed 218 of 317 passes.
Russell rushed on 1191 yards on 152 carries and 18 touchdowns. He also had 21 receptions for 208 yards and five scores.
Wetzell logged 78 receptions for 994 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Coleman will take his talents to Furman University after making the All-State team last year. He was a standout defensive player and starred on both sides of the football in a league that included Greeneville.
Happy Valley’s trio includes Brayden Sams, Landon Morefield and Dakota Cochran.
Sams was a duel threat quarterback rushing for 800 yards on 117 carries and 17 touchdowns. He threw for 620 yards and five scores, completing 44-of-92 passes.
Morefield was the league’s top lineman in 2A and his 6’6, 305-pound frame is drawing looks from several schools including some D-1 offers.
Cochran was the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2A and led the team in tackles. He also rushed for 723 yards and five touchdowns.
Cloudland duo of Jordan Coffey and Austin Hall were unanimous selections.
Coffey rushed for 1738 yards on 245 carries and 23 touchdowns. He also logged five TD receptions.
Hall was the conference’s 1A Offensive Lineman of the Year and his size could land him an opportunity to play college football.
Hampton’s Hunter Davenport and C.J. Wilson will represent the Bulldogs.
Davenport compiled 1624 yards rushing on 195 carries and 20 touchdowns. He also caught five touchdown passes out of the backfield.
Wilson is a candidate for All-State honors and will definitely draw some attention from area colleges with his size.
The final spot goes to Unaka’s Blake Isaacs who caught 59 passes for 1080 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Johnson County’s Don Kerley was a unanimous choice for Coach of the Year after finishing the regular season 10-0 and winning a first round playoff game for only the third time in school history.
His 11 regular season wins is a school record.