By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
ERWIN Johnson Countys game with Unicoi County was much like a tight poker contest. Neither team wanted to show their hand.
The Longhorns used a strong first quarter to claim a 50-45 win on Tuesday night in Erwin. Head coach Austin Atwood said its a confidence booster for his team but said that the Blue Devils and head coach John English probably kept a lot of tricks up their sleeves.
We pretty much knew we would be playing each other in the first round of the District, said Atwood. So the play calling during the game was pretty much bland. We play a lot of young kids so well use it as a learning tool to gain some valuable experience. But the big game will be the next time we meet. Thats the one when your season is on the line.
Johnson County used a pair of threes by Chase Phillips in the first quarter that helped them grab a 14-5 lead after one. But the Blue Devils would battle back to outscore them 13-7 in the second quarter.
Much of that damage was done at the foul line where they shot 6-of-8.
Phillips continued to play well scoring five points including a three. The Longhorns led 21-18 at the half.
Both teams got their offense going to start the third quarter.
Dylan Putman scored six quick points and Merrick Nicksic had a three for Unicoi.
But Phillips continued his stellar play by putting up another five points while Cody Bailie and Austin Houser provided four apiece.
Johnson County led 38-33 heading into the final frame.
Both teams would score an even dozen in the final quarter with the game staying tight throughout.
Phillips had a late basket as did Caleb Throop. Eight of Johnson Countys 12 points came from the charity stripe. I was really pleased with our defensive effort especially in the first quarter, added Atwood. We try and hold teams to 10 or less points. Were not a team that scores in the sixties and seventies so we have to rely on our defense.
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