By Tim Chambers
A big time shot and a big time performance helped Johnson County earn a big time win on Saturday inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium. Blake Atwood blistered the nets for 30 points and Sean Lewis added 15 that led the Longhorns to a stunning 74-68 overtime win.
Johnson County (1-0) led most of the way but trailed by five late in the game. They kept pecking away at the lead, getting a pair of free throws by Atwood that finally cut the deficit to 59-57 with 10 seconds remaining.
The Longhorns were trailing 60-57 when Lewis got the ball on the far end of the court with .03 seconds showing. His sensational shot from 60 feet away tickled the twine and sent the game into overtime.
Pandemonium broke loose in Johnson County’s student section as fans celebrated his heroics. Momentum would swing in Johnson County’s favor allowing them to dominate in the overtime period.
“That was a great shot by a very good player,” said head coach Austin Atwood. “I thought all the kids stepped up and played well tonight. Blake shot the ball well, but he’s not going to get 30 every night, but he does take pressure off Bud, Sean and Nathan getting the ball up the floor. We hit our foul shots and didn’t quit when they went up and that was critical. Jordan Edes-King played huge on the inside and Troy Arnold gave us some great minutes off the bench. Boone is picked to finish third in the Big 7 behind Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett. This was definitely a huge win for us.”
The Longhorns started the game hotter than a two-dollar pistol. Atwood had 10 first quarter points helping his team to a 21-9 lead.
Johnson County shot 8-of-13 from the field and 3-of-5 from behind the 3-point line. Edes-King had four points in the paint and they only had one turnover in the frame.
Bonne begin chipping away at the lead despite a pair of treys by Atwood. They trailed 30-16 but ended the half by going on a 7-0 run.
Johnson County led 30-23 at the half.
The Trailblazers kept applying the pressure and pulled within two in the third quarter. A pair of clutch three’s by Bud Icenhour prevented them from surging in front in the third, but they found a way to move in front to start the fourth quarter.
Gunner Norris got Boone in front by dominating the offensive glass in the second half. His putback finally moved the Blazers in front 51-50 with 2:37 remaining and the lead grew to five after Chad Hagler’s trifecta.
Lewis bagged a three-ball that got them within two at 57-55 with .49 seconds remaining. That set the stage for his heroics and Atwood’s strong play down the stretch.
“I practice that shot every day after practice,” said Lewis about his 60-footer. “I hit several of them but it was my first one in a game. I got a great look and let it fly. We weren’t going to let this one slip away after that.”
He ended the game with 15 points. Icenhour added 12 points, hitting four treys.
Edes-King finished with a double-double, 12 points and 13 rebounds. Nathan Arnold added 10 rebounds but Atwood’s play made the difference.
He was 14-of-15 from the foul line en route to his game high 30. He also dished out five assists.
“I felt like we didn’t play as well defensively as we could have,” said Atwood. “They hurt us some rebounding but kept playing hard and it finally paid off. I knew that Sean’s shot was going in because I’ve seen him make that thing several times in practice. It was a big shot and big confidence booster for us. We played really good in the overtime. It felt great to beat a very good team like Boone.”
Hagler led the Blazers with 19 points. Lawson added 17 points. Norris provided 16 points and 14 rebounds.
Johnson County shot a blistering 10-for-20 behind the 3-point arc and 18-for-23 from the foul line.
They will be at West Wilkes, North Carolina on Monday, November 27 and back at home on November 28 to face Unaka. You can read a complete game story on Tuesday’s game versus Cloudland in next Wednesday’s edition of the Tomahawk.
Johnson County 74
Daniel Boone 68 OT
DANIEL BOONE (68)
Hagler 19, Lawson 17, Norris 16, Fitzgearld 4, Rigsby 4, Johnson 6, Golden 2.
JOHNSON COUNTY (72)
Atwood 30, Lewis 15, Icenhour 12, Edes-King 12, N. Arnood 1, T. Arnold 2, Reece 0, Eller 0, Phillips 0.
Daniel Boone 9 14 18 17 8 —68
Johnson Co 21 9 13 17 14 —74
3-point goals—DB 4 (Hagler 3, Rigsby) JC 10 (Atwood 4, Icenhour 4, Lewis 2).