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Alumni game brings fun and many memories for Lady Horns

Alumni game at JCHS Tuesday, December 21,2021 with Sadie Stout, Emmy Miller, Natalie Winters, Abby Cornett, Taylor Cox, and Brooke Brown. Photo by Beth Cox

By Beth Cox
Sports Writer


Two years ago, Johnson County High School had one of the best girls’ basketball teams ever played inside Ray Shoun Gymnasium. Under the leadership of Coach Leon Tolley and Assistant Coach Kechia Eller and Garry Smith, the Lady Longhorns made it to regionals, which had not been done in 24 years.
The Lady Horns consistently had some of the top shooters and rebounders in Northeast Tennessee. They had two players who surpassed 1,000 points in shooting and one who had more than 750 rebounds. It was an exciting time to be a Longhorn fan and watch this team play some amazing basketball.
Last Tuesday, Eller, current head coach, asked the same girls from that team and basketball standout alumni Brooke Brown to play the current Lady Longhorns. She said,
“I wanted my girls to get some
playing time over the break and
thought it would be great for them to scrimmage the alumni. I thought it would be good exposure for them to play a competitive group of girls; I told them they wouldn’t play any better team.”
The alumni players had the time of their life playing against the Lady Horns and hoped the competition helped the girls. The players, along with Brown, were Abby Cornett, Taylor Cox, Emmy Miller, Sadie Stout, and Natalie Winters. All agreed it was so good to be back on the court playing.
Stout said, “it was great to be with them. We had great chemistry and memories.” Winters felt a sense of nostalgia seeing her former teammates, “it reminded me of the good ‘ole’ days.” Cornett added, “it was so fun to play again. It just brought back so many memories that I cherish now.” Miller didn’t realize how much she missed playing with her teammates,” I had forgotten just how much fun we had.” Cox summed it up nicely, “it was a special time for us all. We just didn’t know then.”
Winters, Cox, and Cornett graduated that year and were part of the COVID cancellation season. Not only were they not allowed to finish their senior year, but they missed out playing spring sports, which all had excelled in. Cox played tennis while Winters and Cornett played softball. When asked what it was like not being able to finish the sports they loved, Winters replied, “ it was disheartening not to finish the year, but I learned to enjoy every second of even the smallest things.” Cox also interjected, “ it was hard not to think about what might have been, but we learned we are stronger than we think, and we realized what is really important out of life. COVID didn’t take that away from us.”
Cornett agreed with her friends and added, “ sure, it was hard to leave everything, but it taught us to do everything like it could be your last time because it just might be.”
It was nice to see the girls back together. Everyone who watched got to relive those three-point shots from Stout, Winters handling the ball with great precision, Miller’s outrageous rebounds, Brown’s expertise, and of course, Cornett’s rebounds and down the court throws to Cox who would drive for the lay-up shots