By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
Lackluster play and lack of effort was nowhere to be found on the court between Johnson County and Elizabethton on Friday. The Longhorns gave a gutsy effort for four quarters before falling 60-50 to the Cyclones inside of Treadway Gymnasium.
It was a 180-degree turnaround from their three previous games that resulted in losses to Volunteer, Hampton and Cloudland. Head coach Austin Atwood was disappointed with the loss but optimistic that his squad might have turned the corner.
We let our kids watch film of our last three games and I didnt have to say much after that, said Atwood. The effort level was there tonight and we rebounded better against a good team. We could have won had we shot free throws well and not given up about 12 easy buckets. Our transition defense is not very good right now. They did a great job breaking out and Michael Robinson does a great job of running the floor. We defended him well but he knocked down his free throws. This is what we should have looked like at the beginning of the year. Im confident that we can build off this.
The Cyclones led 14-9 after one with six points by Bo Pless and a long three from Michael Robinson highlighting the quarter. The Longhorns would battle back to close the gap behind the stellar play of Blake Atwood.
The freshman phenomena scored 10 points in the second period after Johnson County had fallen behind by seven. They managed to close the deficit at 32-29 by halftime and tied the game on their first possession of the third quarter.
Bud Icenhour pulled them even with a long three but the Horns could never surge in front. Much of that was due to five missed shots in the paint.
Their only other basket was a three-ball by Jose Guzman in the quarter.
The Cyclones (2-0, 3-3) used six points from Robinson and a three-ball from the corner by Pless to open up a 45-35 advantage after three. But they couldnt put the Longhorns away until late.
Codie Bailie battled against the much taller Cyclones inside and scored eight of his 15 points including six straight at one stretch.
The Horns got within five but Robinsons 6-of-6 shooting from the foul line and five points by Jalen Smith would be enough to hold off the Horns down the stretch.
Pless recorded a double-double, 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Cyclones. Robinson dished out seven assists in addition to his game high 16 points.
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