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Horns advance past Providence 55-52

By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
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It was a two-fold scenario for Johnson County Middle School. They were looking to avenge an earlier lop-sided defeat at the hands of Providence plus they needed a victory to advance in the middle school district tournament. They accomplished both.
The Longhorns overcame a 15-4 first quarter deficit to knock off the Knights 55-52 at Happy Valley Middle School on Friday.
It was a tough task all game long for the Horns. Trying to shut down Providence’s Michale Bright proved to be harder than trying to overhaul a car motor with a crescent wrench. So they focused on slowing down the other four.
Bright fired in nine first quarter points helping Providence gain a 15-4 lead. But the Longhorns began whittling away in the second period.
“I told our kids that this might be our last middle school game,” said head coach Devin Shaw. “We played very sluggish in the first quarter. But the last three were probably the best they’ve played since I’ve been here.”
Will Henson cut loose for six points and Dylan Simcox added five more to the cause.
They closed the gap at 25-21 on a late basket by Lucas Phillips just before the half ended.
The third quarter was even better for the Longhorns. They would rally to take their first lead late in the quarter.
Darren Cunningham and Jared Kimble stepped up big, scoring a half dozen points each. Henson’s five points were just as huge.
They took their first lead of the game on a deuce by Simcox in the final minute.
Johnson County led 40-38 after three.
The fourth quarter was nip-and-tuck all the way.
 Providence threatened to take the lead but baskets by Cunningham and Phillips prevented that from happening.
Cunningham sank two big free throws to put them up by three in the final seconds. Simcox had given the Horns a one-point lead prior to that with a charity toss after Providence had pulled even.
Johnson County’s well-balanced scoring attack would prove to be the difference.
Cunningham led the way with 15. Henson played well scoring 12 and Kimble added 10 points and seven rebounds.  Phillips and Simcox just missed the double figure mark scoring nine and eight points respectively.
Bright amassed 31 points for the Knights.
“It was the best overall team performance we’ve had all year against a very good team,” added Shaw. “We got a lot of turnovers off our 1-3-1 defense. We were a little skeptical at first but they did a great job running it over the final three quarters.”

​Semi-finals​
Hampton 57
Johnson County 33

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