Even a homecoming match up couldnt save the Lady Longhorns as they met the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones for the second time this year. Despite playing much harder and more determinedly than on the road, the intense athleticism of the Lady Cyclones prevailed again, with Coach Len Dugger resorting to the ultra talented Marosites twins as the brunt of his force. Even so, Jonson County still put up a resounding fight and made their best efforts to force Elizabethton to earn their victory.
Heres what we can say, began Johnson County head Coach Todd Whittemore, Even when our girls got down tonight they kept battling. The other night when we played them the game got away from us from the first quarter. Tonight they were able to cut it and make it a little bit closer down the stretch. I credit our girls for not giving up, but hey, I have to give credit to Elizabethton. Theyve got a good team. They have a good team and Coach Dugger does a good job. Were just not where they are right now.
The biggest trouble that Johnson County faced was in turnovers. Time and again the Lady Cyclones would sneak in with a quick strike and steal the ball away for a fast easy layup. At times, the steals even got a little physical as Elizabethton caught one of Johnson Countys players off guard and forcibly took the ball from her possession. As a result Elizabethton had already made five points before Johnson County made their first, although the Lady Longhorns did make a good initial showing with a three-pointer from Kourtney Tolley. That was the only basket the girls made down to the last minute of the period when senior Brooke Brown finally landed a couple shots to end the first trailing 7-22.
The second quarter didnt get much better with both Marosites sisters making numerous shots including several three-pointers to speed through the 20s and 30s, ultimately ending up with 44 points by the half. In contrast, the Lady Longhorns made just four baskets the entire second quarter, all of which were from Brooke Brown. Even with such a huge lead, Elizabethton still held the ball when they could to try to eat down the clock to prevent any potential Johnson County advances.
With that disappointing first half behind them, the Lady Longhorns actually picked up some of the slack in the third quarter, kicking off with a three from Tolley complemented by an offensive rebound from fellow sophomore Amanda Potter, who did a fantastic job defensively as well as in her role executing the plays offensively. Although her stats may not have shown, it I thought that Amanda Potter really helped us in the press, said Whittemore. She got a little frustrated but I thought she did a really good job overall. Our girls are playing hard, theyre playing together. They have great attitudes and they make it worthwhile to coach.
Potters rebound pushed Johnson County into the 20s and was soon aided by two free throws from Kelsey Duperry and a basket by Brown. Likewise, the girls also did better defensively, slowing down Elizabethtons earlier firestorm to a snails pace in the third. In fact, Elizabethton made just 11 points the whole period, and only one point better in the fourth. Of course the gap was simply too wide to overcome, but as Johnson County eventually hit the 30s on the scoreboard, Coach Whittemore seemed somewhat optimistic.
I did like the fact that tonight we got down and we closed the gap as opposed to the other night when it got worse and worse and worse, Whittemore said. That was a little bit of a positive. We have to build on the fact that we were competing a little bit in the second half. Were still young. Again, we started three sophomores, a freshman, and a senior, but we have to start with our girls before they get into ninth grade and we are. When it comes to my staff, my wife and assistant coach Rusty Chambers, were already working with fifth and sixth graders now, which I hadnt been able to do. Were going to get it going in the right direction.
Johnson County 33
Brooke Brown 15
Kourtney Tolley 9
Kelsey Duperry 5
Amanda Potter 2
Michala Cretsinger 2