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.