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Bulldogs hand Longhorns another loss in Hardee’s Classic

By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
[email protected]

JONESBOROUGH— Hampton came into the Hardees Classic shorthanded, minus several key starters who just finished up their football season on Friday. But it was Johnson County who came up on the short end of the stick.
The Longhorns fell 64-57 in the seventh place game and have now lost four straight. The first two were expected against Science Hill and David Crockett. The last two losses left head coach Austin Atwood shaking his head.
“Even our lesser teams have always had that toughness on the court,” said Atwood. “But it’s not there right now with this group. I guess you can say we’re a work in progress. We’ve got some kinks to iron out but we’re not playing with the type of effort and intensity that our teams have always played with. We have to get back to that.”
Atwood was spot on with his reasoning.
The Longhorns were beaten up and down the floor and on the backboard by the determined Bulldogs and they failed to guard Hampton’s outside shooters.
The lead swapped hands four times during the first quarter with neither team able to pull away.
Dru Owens had a pair of three’s off the bench for the Dogs and would add his third to start the second quarter.
Johnson County used a couple of deuces by Bud Icenhour and Austin Houser to build a three-point advantage near the midway mark. A three-ball by Jose Guzman would erase a two-point deficit and give Johnson County a 14-13 lead after one.
It was Hampton’s Little Milligan connection that gave them the lead during the second quarter.
Charlie Butler’s three-point play and a basket by Jose Velazquez put Hampton in front at 18-16. Butler cut loose for 10 points in the quarter including two treys for the bulk of their offense.
The Horns got within two twice on a three-ball by Blake Atwood and a jumper from Cody Bailie but still trailed 31-26 at the half.
“We never got any stops when we needed them,” said Atwood. They outhustled us for loose balls and they got several second chance points off offensive rebounds.”
That was the case during the third quarter when Hampton’s Wyatt Lyons got four of his half dozen off the offensive glass.
Jared Andrews and Chris Holtsclaw kept the Dogs in front with a pair of jumpers after Johnson County had gotten within two twice.
The Longhorns rode the play of Icenhour and Jordan Edes-King to stay in the game.
The Horns trailed 46-42 after three but rallied to get back within striking distance to start the fourth.
Four times they cut the lead to two, only to see Hampton push it back to four.

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