By Tim Chambers
Very seldom can you use the phrase must win in a non-conference game, but that was the case on Saturday for Johnson County. The Lady Longhorns got back on the winning track by defeating Hampton 47-43 before a large crowd inside of VanHuss-White Gymnasium.
It was the second win of the season for Horns over their lake rival and came after a heartbreaking 55-54 overtime loss at Elizabethton on Friday. It was also their fourth game in six days.
Despite possible fatigue, they still managed to hold off the Lady Bulldogs after building a 15-point lead heading into the fourth.
Head coach Leon Tolley knew his team was in for a “dog fight” and warmed his squad going into the final eight minutes.
“We got the big lead, but you can’t keep a team that shoots the ball as Hampton does down the whole game,” said Tolley. “We were lucky to have the big lead. I told our kids when they came to the bench that it wasn’t enough. There’s a lot of magic inside this gym. I don’t care if we won by one or 30 we just needed a win. Just the look on the girl’s faces said it all. That’s what makes coaching so enjoyable.”
first three quarters
The Longhorns got seven points from Sadie Stout in the first quarter that offset the two treys scored by Stephanie Campbell and Trinity Camillo. A late basket by Taylor Cox gave Johnson County a 9-6 advantage going into the second.
The Horns would pad their lead thanks to a three-point play by Cox that made it 14-6 after Stout’s bucket to start the second. Hampton got within five just seconds before the half, but a buzzer-beating three by Natalie Winters upped the Horns advantage at 23-15.
for the Horns
Johnson County continued to expand their cushion with Cox and Stout leading the way. They both tossed in seven points each as the Horns doubled Hampton’s scoring total 14-7 in the quarter.
They appeared to have a comfortable 37-22 heading into the final stanza, but that wasn’t the case.
Campbell fired in nine points during the final eight minutes, and Guinn added another seven. Their 21 points output was one less than what they had scored over the first three frames.
The Dogs went on a 10-0 run late in the game to close the deficit to 43-40 with 1:25 remaining. The Longhorns put the game away behind some clutch free throw shooting by Emmy Miller who sank 5-of-6 in the quarter including three that came late that stretched the lead to six.
Stout had a big night with 17 points and five rebounds to pace the Longhorns. Cox added 12 points and five boards, while Winters contributed seven points and three assists. Taylor Parsons led the team in rebounding with seven and blocked three shots.
Campbell and Guinn had 17 and 16 points respectively for the Bulldogs.
It was a good win for
the Horns who went 2-2 during their four-game week. Tolley feels like his squad might now be on the right track.
“That’s the first time that we’ve put two good efforts back to back, so I tickled with the way we played,” said Tolley. “We played together, and we played for one another. We shared the basketball, and we picked one another up. We’ve dealt with some issues, but I think we’re better for it now. I hope our best basketball of the year is now in front of us.”
Johnson Co. 9 14 14 10 -47
Hampton 6 9 27 21 -43