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Closing the chapter on basketball

By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
[email protected]

The “Broken Road” that Rascal Flatts mentioned in their hit song is about to be fixed over the summer with the help of God’s blessings and head coach Austin Atwood. That’s because the 2015-16 basketball season was filled with potholes along the way.
The basketball play that fans have been accustomed to seeing by past Johnson County teams was not evident with this year’s squad. The team was made up of several young players and at times they showed signs of maturing but never showed any signs of consistency.
There were no marquee wins like last season when Elizabethton, Unicoi County and David Crockett fell victim, but there is reason to be optimistic. Everything could be changing in the near future.
The sophomore quartet of Bud Icenhour, Nathan Arnold, Jordan Edes-King and Sean Lewis all played a lot of varsity minutes and gained valuable experience. So did freshman Blake Atwood. Austin Houser returns to lead the junior class. Bank on all of those players being much improved.
But there’s more.
The Longhorns won the Three Rivers Conference Junior Varsity Tournament and they knocked off Sullivan East and Unicoi County in doing so.
The freshman class consisting of key players like Iain Tester, Zack Eller, Troy Arnold, Gavin Reece, Jayden Joiner and Atwood appear ready to go bear hunting with a hickory switch. Lanky Gabe Reece will definitely add some key depth to the sophomore class.
I’m expecting the long and winding road that was encountered this season to become the straight and narrow over the summer and fall practices. You can bank on Atwood getting them back to that point.

Girls Basketball
The girls have a talented incoming freshman class on the horizon, but they’ll play against some much stiffer competition than what they’ve been accustomed to playing against.
Coach Thomas Wampler returns a large portion of his squad, but so does the rest of the league.
Elizabethton reaps the benefits of a T.A. Dugger squad who can provide a trio of players ready for varsity competition.

To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week's paper.