The Longhorns simply did not have a good night on Friday in Erwin against the Unicoi County Blue Devils. After battling to a two-point loss in their last match up at home, fans expected a close game, but were disappointed to find a weak offense giving way to an energized Unicoi defense, turning over the ball as a result and failing to control the rebound.
We just didnt show up, said Coach Austin Atwood. Weve had a long lay off and weve had bad luck here for some reason, I dont know why. That was the worst game of the year, which isnt good going into tournament time, but well see if these boys want to fix it or not.
The game actually started off on a fairly even footing with a low scoring first quarter that saw a couple of early tie-ups at 2-2 and 4-4. The Blue Devils pulled ahead in the last couple of minutes to double the score at 4-8, but with a final foul against Brian Dempsey, the Longhorns climbed two more points to six. A huge run in the last 40 seconds bumped Unicoi all the way to 15, giving them a nine-point momentum coming into the second.
Johnson County struggled on before the half, putting up another eight points thanks in part to a three pointer by Dalton Timbs, but with Unicoi steadily raising the deficit between the two teams only grew as the game wore on. By the third quarter, the Longhorns chances of victory had become very slim as the score nearly doubled at 16-30. Timbs, along with Dempsey and Chase Phillips landed a few more baskets, but by the fourth Johnson County was still at only 26 on the scoreboard.
Dempsey helped his team struggle on through the last period, putting up a couple more baskets early on, but with just under four minutes left in the game Atwood began pulling players from the bench in an effort to get them some experience against a tough team. Remarkably, the change signaled a last minute push that gave Jordan Grubb and River Cazire some buckets to their credit. The advance was dampened somewhat by foul trouble, including a technical against Cazire as he accidentally elbowed one of Unicois defenders in the face. As the clock wore down, Grubb got the last shot of the night, pushing Johnson County to 39 while the Blue Devils sat at 62.
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