Following their disappointing loss to the Sullivan South Lady Rebels, Johnson Countys girls were back on the court to face an even bigger challenge against the Creekwood Lady Redhawks from Charlotte, Tennessee. A large school just west of Nashville, Creekwood had already played a phenomenal overtime match up against Cloudlands Lady Highlanders where they came up just one point shy of the win. Having witnessed that game, The Lady Longhorns knew well in advance just how difficult their task would be in pulling off a win, and despite a noticeable improvement in their energy and drive on the court, the Lady Red Hawks proved to be simply too much to handle.
From the first quarter Johnson County was playing a losing game of keep up after Creekwood got off to a quick start with two consecutive layups. Kelsey Duperry helped offset the early lead with a basket right under the net, but a following three-point shot from the Red Hawks continued to push the deficit. Senior Brionna Reece was back in good form, landing numerous offensive drives that gave her 17 points overall. However, most of those buckets came later in the game, and even with Reece and Kourtney Tolley both scoring in the first, Johnson County was still looking at a 7-23 lag coming into the second. Weve just got to get out there with that fast start, said Head Coach Todd Whittemore. Weve got to avoid starting the game wanting to get warmed up. We ought to be ready to go any time.
That tough first period behind them, Johnson County gave a valiant effort coming into the half. Reece landed two early baskets and was backed up by both Duperry and Tolley, who got several free throw attempts after being fouled. Creekwood continued firing off long-range shots, many of which hit their mark, but before the third the Lady Longhorns had still broke well past the double digits, ending up trailing 22-45.
Offensively Johnson County continued to do well all the way through the fourth, with Brooke Brown making a few good saves and earning double digits herself at 14. Even though they did earn some cheers from the Longhorn fans in the crowd, these advances ultimately proved futile as Creekwood continued to climb higher and higher on the scoreboard, clearing well into the 60s by the start of the fourth quarter.
To their credit, the Lady Longhorns continued to play hard, seeming to enjoy themselves despite the steadily diminishing chances of an upset. With Reece and Brown taking charge along with support from Duperry and Tolley, Johnson County actually had their best run during the fourth, starting off at 37 and rising all the way through the 40s to wind up with a final score of 50-75.
Although a loss, the game was the first sign of light shining through a cloud of several very troubling defeats. For Coach Whittemore the biggest difference was that his team finally seemed to be in good spirits. The effort was there, Whittemore said. Everybody was coachable and they tried hard. They got happy and they play pretty good when theyre happy.
Johnson County 50,
Brionna Reece 17
Brooke Brown 14
Kourtney Tolley 8
Kelsey Duperry 6
Amanda Potter 2
Michala Cretsinger 2
Gianna Lay 1