By Tim Chambers
It took a superior effort from Johnson County’s version of “double trouble” and then some to knock off a pesky Hampton squad on Saturday. Blake Atwood and Bud Icenhour combined to score 47 points in a 68-56 win before a capacity crowd inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium.
It was Atwood who set the tone for the game by helping the Longhorns jump on top 19-10 after one.
He connected on five treys in the first quarter including four straight at one point. He said that playing before that type of crowd helped him and the team get pumped.
“We knew Hampton would play well so we just tried to weather the storm,” said Icenhour. “You live for a game like Hampton with the big crowd and it being such a rival. I knew tonight was my last time of ever playing against them, and I wanted to go out with a bang. I told Blake before the game to play like it was his last time, too. We sure didn’t want to lose because this is as big to us as any conference game. It’s always special to beat them because they have a great team with lots of tradition. I thought our entire team played well.”
Most of Johnson County’s points came off their transition offense in the first quarter, but they started taking it to the hoop in the second.
Atwood accounted for six points while Troy Arnold and Jordan Edes combined to ring up 11 points in the paint. Jonah Jones kept Hampton in it by swishing a pair of treys, but they trailed 38-31 at the half.
Head coach Austin Atwood liked the fast start but said it was their defense that stood out the most.
“Nathan Arnold and Zack Eller both played great on the defense end,” said Atwood. “Zack got some steals early and Nathan’s length kept Owens from getting off a lot of shots. I though Jordan Edes did a great job on the board, and Bud and Blake really played well together. Blake did a good job of finding Bud early in the game, but Hampton shut that down after the first quarter. We had to play well against a very good team. This definitely was a good win for us.”
The Longhorns were able to step up their defensive pressure in the third quarter, holding Hampton’s Dru Owens scoreless in the frame after he had tallied only five first-half points. Hunter Davenport scored half of Hampton’s 10 total, but Atwood did one point better with 11 in the frame. A three-ball by Icenhour and deuces from Jordan Edes and Zack Eller gave them a 56-43 advantage heading into the final stanza.
Any Hampton hopes of getting back into the game vanished over the first three minutes in the fourth.
A tip-in by Edes and Atwood’s driving layup extended their advantage at 63-47 with 5:08 remaining.
The Bulldogs got it under double-digits to nine on a three ball by Owens with 2:30 remaining, but the Longhorns hit their free throws down the stretch to stave off any comeback attempt.
Atwood led the Longhorns with a game high 26 points and five assists. Icenhour finished the night with 21. Edes added 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots.
“We all got a lot of open looks after Bud made those threes,” said Blake Atwood.” I was able to penetrate and Edes got some good looks on the inside. We can do a lot of things when Bud shoots the ball like that.”
Not to be overlooked was the defensive effort by Nathan Arnold on Owens who finished the game with 12 points, seven in the final quarter.
Eller also stepped up with three steals and Troy Arnold provided seven points and four rebounds off the bench.
“We got contributions from everyone,’’ said Edes. “It was special playing in front of a crowd like we did tonight. They got a little run so I tried to keep our team pumped up. We all did a good job against a very good Hampton team. Getting a win against them is always special.”
Davenport had 12 points for the Bulldogs and four assists. Gavin Hardin led the Dogs in rebounding with eight.
Johnson County 68, Hampton 56
JOHNSON CO. (68)
Atwood 26, Icenhour 21, Edes 10, Eller 2, N. Arnold 2, T. Arnold 7, Reece 0, Phillips 0
Owens 12, Davenport 12, Bentley 9, Livingston 6, Jones 6, Mi. Ellis 3, Ma. Ellis 2, Hardin 4, Oaks 2.
Johnson Co. 19 19 15 15 — 68
Hampton 10 21 10 15 — 56
3-point goals—JC 7 (Icenhour 6, Atwood 1) Hampton 6 (Owens 2, Jones 2, Bentley 1, Mi. Ellis 1)