By Tim Chambers
Johnson County was a little rough around the edges on senior night but still managed to log another victory. The No. 10 ranked Longhorns ran their season record to 23-4 by knocking off KACHEA 72-56 in boys’ game.
The Lady Longhorns ran roughshod past the Lady Wildcats 61-18.
Johnson County 72
The Longhorns started the game without Class AA Mr. Basketball Finalist Blake Atwood on the court as their remaining five seniors took the floor first against the Wildcats.
The Horns got off to a good start with Zach Eller scoring four quick points while Gavin Reece and Lucas Phillips added a three-ball each to put them in front 10-2.
Atwood entered the game and recorded eight consecutive points, and Michael Oxentine provided a three-point play giving the Horns a comfortable 22-2 advantage.
The Horns led 24-5 after one thanks to Eller’s 15-foot jumper at the buzzer.
Every senior would
score in the game
It was a special night for seniors ZacK Winters and Luke Rash. Both were starting their first game ever for the Horns and they each racked up a considerable amount of playing time.
Rash brought the crowd to its feet by knocking scoring in the paint on their first possession in the second quarter while Winters delighted them with a long three-ball from the corner that made it 31-10.
Senior guard Gavin Reece once again played lights out. He had a pair of threes in the first half and was 4-of-4 from long distance. He along with Eller and Atwood all had scored in double figures before halftime as the Horns led 45-24 at intermission.
Horns hold off
The game was a good tune-up for Johnson County as KACHEA had played several teams close on their schedule. Jeffery Hicks and Will Joiner proved they could play with anyone totaling 20 and 13 points respectively. Chris Strickland also provided nine including seven in the final quarter complimenting Hicks’ eight fourth-quarter points.
Atwood totaled nine points in the third quarter before leaving the game for good. The only starting to score in the fourth quarter for the Longhorns was Troy Arnold who brought the crowd to its feet one last time by sinking a three-ball from the corner.
Freshman Zack Parsons came on to score a basket for the Horns in the fourth as reserves flooded the floor during the final eight minutes.
Atwood finished the night with 21 points and five rebounds in limited play. Reece added 14 points, and five assists as Eller contributed 10 points, four assists, and three steals. Arnold collected five points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Atwood praised the play of his seniors.
“We didn’t play at the level I wanted us to, but those kids deserved to play,” said Atwood. “I thought we did some good things and those kids who don’t ever get much playing time hustled their tails off. This was a tune-up game for us to get ready for South and the District Tournament. I appreciate each one of our senior players. You couldn’t ask for any better kids to coach than them.”
Johnson County 62
The Lady Longhorns quickly erased a 4-3 deficit by going on a 21-2 run to end the first quarter with a 24-6 advantage. They put up another 24
points in the second quarter to build a 48-14 halftime advantage.
“We did want we were supposed to do and came out ready to play,” said head coach Leon Tolley. “We wanted to get off to a good start and rest a lot of players, and we did that. It’s good for team morale to see the others get playing time. These three game weeks are tough, so we told them at halftime that we would be playing a lot of reserves. It was good seeing everyone get some varsity experience.”
All the Lady Longhorns starters were on the bench after they stretched their lead out to 57-14 during the third stanza. The second unit got plenty of floor time in the fourth with Jacey Eshelman and Tiffany Price scoring along with Rhiannon Icenhour who swished a three-ball.
Taylor Cox scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Longhorns. Sadie Stout
added 12 points and five rebounds.
Hazlee Kleine enjoyed her best game as a Longhorn with a career-high 14 points and 12 rebounds. Natalie Winters amassed a game-high seven assists, and Emmy Miller collected nine rebounds.
Emma Morelock led KACHEA with eight points.
The Longhorns didn’t have a senior on their roster as the lineup consisted of three juniors and two sophomores. The entire team will return next year along with last year’s leading scorer Adrian Hall.
Atwood 21, Reece 14, Eller 10, Phillips 7, Arnold 5, Oxentine 5, Winters 2, Rash 2, Cross 2, Parsons 2, Neely 0, Cunningham 0.
Hicks 20, W. Joiner 13, Strickland 9, J. Reece 6, C. Joiner 3, Philips 2, C. Reece 3
KACHEA 5 19 11 21 -56
JCHS 24 21 18 9 -72
3-point goals KACHEA 2 (Joiner 1, C. Reece 1) JC 7 (Reece 3, Atwood 1, Arnold 1, Phillips 1, Winters 1).
Cox 21, Kleine 14, Stout 12, Miller 2, Winters 2, Icenhour 5, Eshelman 3, Price 2, Cornett 1
Morelock 8, Horner 6, Bagard 4, McReynolds 0, Strickland 0, Sheets 0.
KACHEA 6 8 0 4 -18
JCHS 24 24 9 5 -62
3-point goals—KACHEA 0 JC 6 (Cox 4, Stout 2)