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Gutsy Longhorns outlast Rangers

The JCHS Head Coach Austin Atwood takes a timeout with 6 seconds left in regulation. The Longhorns topped Unaka, Monday evening, in a 82-75 double overtime thriller. Photo by Joey Icenhour.

Longhorns 82, Rangers 75

 By Tim Chambers
Sports Editor

Getting a win has been a hard task recently for the boy’s basketball team, but none has been harder than the one they earned on Monday inside Snavely Gymnasium. Johnson County gutted out an 82-75 win in double overtime in a game where they could have won in regulation but could have lost in the first overtime.The Longhorns were leading 66-63 in regulation with 06 seconds remaining when head coach Austin Atwood took a timeout with Unaka having the basketball.

“I wanted to foul, but the boys talked me out of it,” said Atwood. “I’ll never do that again.”

That’s because Unaka’s Will Sexton hit a 30-foot trey with hands in his face to tie the game at the buzzer that sent the game into overtime at 66 all. Sexton had a chance to win it in overtime but missed a three at the buzzer. Johnson County’s Jackson Earnhardt hit a huge three to start the second overtime, followed by a put back in the paint from Trevor Gentry that pushed their lead out to 77-73. Zack Parson played lights out and hit two free throws after out-hustling three Rangers for a loose ball off the boards and getting fouled.That was all the Longhorns needed to carve out the win.

Freshman Connor Simcox accounted for four points in the first overtime and had a critical assist that helped extend the game. The Longhorns couldn’t shut down Sexton in the second half, who had scored on five in the first two quarters. He ended the game with 32 points, with 27 coming in the second half.

Earnhardt had a good night with 21 points, five assists, and seven rebounds, but the night belonged to Parsons. The silky-smooth Parsons tallied 20 points and ten rebounds in the hard-fought win. Clayton Cross hit some big shots en route to 10 points. Simcox, a freshman, played some valuable minutes. Trevor Gentry hit six points and grabbed eight rebounds. Not to be overlooked was the seven points scored by Preston Greer off the bench for the Longhorns.

Atwood went on to say.“It’s a good win in at a tough place to play at, but we’re still making too many mistakes. “We can play better, and we should have. It’s great to get out of here with a win.”