By Tim Chambers
While one Michael rowed his boat ashore, another one sank Johnson County’s on Friday. Michael Robinson pour in 28 points, leading Elizabethton to a 67-52 win inside of John Treadway Gymnasium on homecoming night.
Elizabethton (6-1, 18-4) leads the conference while the Longhorns fell to 2-5 in league play and 9-11 overall.
Elizabethton built an 8-2 lead at the midway mark in the first stanza, but Johnson County stormed back to take the lead.
Bud Icenhour swished a trifecta to put them up 11-10, then Sean Lewis added a basket that extended their lead at three. The Cyclones closed the quarter on a 5-0 run and led 15-13 after one.
The Longhorns faltered from that point as foul trouble plagued them from there. Elizabethton responded by going on an 8-0 run that put them in front 23-13.
Most of the total came when Nathan Arnold picked up his second foul and had to leave the game after defending Robinson.
“We’ve got to play smarter, especially Nathan,” said Atwood. “He’s a smart kid but a competitor. He’s got to link the two together because we need about 25 minutes from him. We don’t lose scoring when he goes out, but we lose our best defender and rebounding. Plus he gives us a ton of leadership. We needed him on the floor.”
Atwood was right on his assessment. Robinson accounted for eight points in the quarter after getting only four in the first period. His 12 points were the deciding factor in Elizabethton’s 35-23 halftime advantage.
He continued to light it up in the second half.
He accounted for another eight points as Elizabethton built a 53-38 leading heading into the final period. And while Robinson continued to lead the offense, Alex Norwood controlled the inside.
Johnson County’s post players combined for a total of seven points.
Bud Icenhour kept them in the game early with 14 first-half points. Blake Atwood tried to in the second half hitting 11 points in the final quarter.
But the Cyclones had just too many weapons for the small Longhorns to overcome.
“They took control of the game in the second half,” added Atwood. “They sped us up offensively which is what they wanted to do. They got a couple of easy looks and we had to try and do some things that we’re not great at. Robinson is just a heck of a player, maybe the best in East Tennessee. You give him an inch from 15 feet in and he’s making it. Then Norwood is one heck of a defensive presence. He did a great job contesting our shots. Elizabethton has all the pieces. You have to play a near perfect game to beat them.”
The Longhorns got most of their point total from long distance. They made 10 shots from behind the three-point arc.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.