By Tim Chambers
The Lady Longhorns experienced a really good week by picking up several non-conference wins and a big conference victory on the road at Unicoi County. It all started on the road at Unaka on Monday, where they won 55-44, and they followed that up with a 51-17 home victory over rival Hampton on Tuesday. Their biggest victory came on Friday, where they disposed of Unicoi County 59-52 in overtime to pick up their first conference win of the season. The Lady Longhorns got a pair of stellar 22 point performances from Sadie Stout against Unaka and Unicoi County. Maybe we need to play more schools whose name starts with the letter U. Her emergence couldn’t have come at a better time with tournaments on the horizon.
That wasn’t the case for the boys who lost three games this week, including two non-conference ones to Unaka and Hampton, and were defeated at Unicoi County in a conference matchup on Friday. It’s been a tough go for the boys who lost four of their top five players from last season, but they are starting to play better and be competitive. They played a very good Hampton team close before falling 73-71 and could have won had they made their free throws. A 13-point loss to Unaka served as a wake-up call to the boys who played a very good contest their next time out at Unicoi County.
Head coach Austin Atwood bragged on their effort and agreed they were making progress in the right direction with tournament time just around the corner. The question is, can the Lady Longhorns make it to the regional tournament for the first time in more than two decades. The ladies still have several key league games remaining and can position themselves to a high seed if they can pull out a few wins. One opposing coach labeled them as being the team that nobody wants to play in the first round of the district.
First place is pretty much a lock-in District 1 AA as Sullivan Central is the kingpin and currently state-ranked. The Lady Horns and the rest of the pack are hoping for a second-place finish that would allow them to play in the sub-state. The boys will hope for a miracle and could find it in the way of Lucas Phillips. The senior is currently playing his best basketball of the season coming off a 29 point performance versus Unicoi County and a 33 point output against Sullivan East. Time will tell, but the Longhorns are capable.
Hughes 12, Hill 4, Lyons 3, Vines 9, Oaks 13, Croy 3, Bentley 18, Jones 10.
Bower 3, Phillips 33, Cunningham 8, Oxentine 11, Greer 3, Cross 10, Gentry 3.
Hampton 24 16 14 18 –72
JCHS 16 18 18 19 –71
3-point goals—Hampton 5 (Hughes 2, Vines 2, Bentley 1), JC 8 (Phillips 5, Cross 2, Bower 1).
Lambert 2, Jenkins 5,
Davis 2, Watson 2, Guy 4, Brumitt 2.
Miller 3, Parsons 6, Cornett 2, Winters 5, Cox 20, Stout 11, Lipford 2, Price 2.
Hampton 6 2 3 6 –17
JCHS 14 13 16 8 –51
3-point goals—Hampton 1 (Jenkins), Johnson County 4 (Stout 3, Cox).
JCHS Boys and Girls Teams next play 6:30 p.m. Friday at Happy Valley.