The Lady Longhorns basketball team has had another busy and successful summer. After traveling several hours to take part in a nearly week long team camp at Middle Tennessee State University, the girls were back home to play a series of games hosted by Gate City High School in Virginia. Featuring teams from all over East Tennessee, the MTSU camp saw the Lady Longhorns pitted against some of the best talent in the state including the Riverdale High School Lady Warriors from Murfreesboro.
With a limited summer roster, players on the bench with injuries, and a seven hour road trip behind them, Coach Todd Whittemore admitted that opening game was a tough one, but it did force the girls to start thinking like a team. We just played who they threw at us, Whittemore said. We only had seven girls and we played all different levels of competition. We opened up and our first game was against Riverdale. They are the team that beat Science Hill in the state finals the last two years in a row, but we needed that. We needed one of those trips that forces you to have to either come away from it better for it or totally dismantled. Its never just in the middle and I felt like we came back as a much closer group. Finally in the era after Brooke Brown, we had them saying things like ok lets run this play. Finally Brookes not telling them or Im not telling them. Theyre actually coming up with ideas that are based on things they think they are good at or they think they like. Once we hit that bump in the road, once they started thinking on their own, they did much better.
The trip included returning players like Gianna Lay, Mackenzie Bauer, Kourtney Tolley, Kelsey Duperry, and Michala Cretsinger as well as relatively new faces including Kelsey Terrell and incoming freshman Brianna Arnold. Faced with a huge, talented, hometown team, the girls were only able to score a handful of points in that first game. Things got better as the trip moved on and Johnson County eventually settled with a 2-6 record overall.
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