By Tim Chambers
BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. – Sullivan Central shot the lights out from long range and thus shot Johnson County out of the game on Friday night inside the Dickie Warren Dome in Blountville at Sullivan Central High School. The Cougars turned to their “Fountain of Youth” to lead them to victory, which proved to be a good move. d
Sophomore Ty Barb fried in 25 points and freshman Joltin Harrison added 24 more that included four treys while leading them to a 66-47 Three Rivers Conference victory.
Head coach Austin Atwood wasn’t pleased with the defensive effort put out by his team.
“We didn’t defend well,” said Atwood. “Anytime you leave a shooter open, they’ll knock it down, and that’s what Central did. “We might have come away with a win had we not played so bad in the first quarter. Our guard play has to get better over the Christmas break, and it will. We’re going to fix some things, including our defense. We’re replacing a lot of guys off of last year’s team, so we knew it would take some time.
It didn’t take the Cougars much time to build a quick 15-7 first-quarter lead.
The second quarter wasn’t so kind to the Longhorns either.
Led by Harrision, the Cougars were up a 16-15 one-point advantage to 28-15 cushion with an 11-0 run.
The bottom line was that Central hit the clutch shots during the game, and the Horns didn’t. Harrision hit a three before the half ended and was fouled with .12 seconds remaining. He converted the three-ball and free throws when Barb followed that up with his steam and half-court backbreaker that swung all the momentum in Central’s favor at intermission.
Johnson County turned to Lucas Phillips for its outside shooting, but he couldn’t deliver as he had in past games. He was coming off a 25 point game in a win over David Crockett but had trouble getting his shots to fall from eh outside. He ended the game with 14 points, and six of those came from the foul line. He had only six after the third period. Inside post player Michael Oxentine was held to 13 points but did provide ten rebounds against the much taller Cougars before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Phillips was the only other Longhorn in double figures with 14. Darren Cunningham ended the night with a near double-double, nine points, and nine rebounds.
JOHNSON COUNTY (57) – Ethan Bower 0 3-5 3, Lucas Phillips 3 6-9 14, Darren Cunningham 4 1-2 9, Clayton Cross 4 0-0 8, Zack Parsons 1 0-0 2, Gavin Ward 3 0-0 8, Michael Oxentine 3 7-10 13, Preston Greer 0 0-0 0, Taylor Gentry 0 0-0 0, Totals 18 17-26 57.
SULLIVAN CENTRAL (66) – Ty Barb 10 2-2 23, Joltin Harrison 6 6-9 22, Bryson Crabtree 3 0-4 7, Ethan Moody 1 0-0 2, Dawson Arnold 3 1-2 7, Desmon Clark 0 1-2 1, Justin Robinette 0 0-0 0, Noah Beverly 2 0-0 4, Austin Bibee 0 0-0 0, Totals 25 10-19 66.