Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Horns defeat Sullivan East

It was a special night for the Longhorns at Sullivan East. Not only did the game mark the 30th year of Coach John Dyer’s career, both at Johnson County where he began and at East where he has spent the majority of that time, but it was also a great opportunity for numerous alumni and veterans of both programs to see how far their respective teams have come. Having played a real nail biter earlier in the season at Mountain City, fans were expecting a tough match up once again, but with every player in the Johnson County lineup doing his part for the team, the game went surprisingly in favor of the Longhorns.
“Coach Dyer, to me is probably the best coach Knoxville this way, maybe the whole state,” began Johnson County Coach Austin Atwood. “They honored him tonight for his 30 years of service and I can’t say enough good things about him. I played for him, and besides my Dad, I look up to him and respect him more than anybody else I can think of. I know the people here at Sullivan East; he’s committed to this community. He’s put this basketball program at another level, and works harder than anybody I know, but still we had a job to do and everything I’ve learned, the toughness of our kids, it all came from him.”
The Patriots actually got the first score of the night, making a single free throw, but with senior Brian Dempsey turning it around with an opening three pointer, the Longhorns took the lead and never looked back. Dempsey continued to shine throughout the first quarter landing three more buckets, but he was far from the only player on Johnson County’s side that wanted to get their chance to take a bite out of the Patriots.
By the second the Longhorns were leading 11-8, but quickly took that narrow two-point deficit and grew it into the double digits before the night was up. Chase Phillips, Dalton Timbs, and Brandon Vannoy all did their part to keep Johnson County in the running during the second quarter, and by the half the Longhorns were still soundly in control 19-15.
The key difference, as Coach Atwood pointed out, was in Johnson County’s defense, focusing on shutting down some of the Patriot’s key three-point shooters. East made multiple attempts at long-range shots, but with the Longhorns putting as much pressure as possible, most of those efforts fell short of the mark.
“We defended really, really well,” Atwood said. “To hold those guys to 14, we kind of forced it. We didn’t let them really get any clean looks. We did an excellent job of making the guys we wanted to shoot the ball, shoot the ball. Everybody thinks it’s about us putting points on the board, and it is to a certain extent, but you can’t give up and trade buckets with good teams.”
Senior Dalton Timbs in particular had a good night both defensively and offensively. Not only was Timbs a key part of keeping East away from the boards, but he also nailed numerous buckets in the first and fourth, as well as one notorious shot right at the end of the third. Along with Chase Phil¬lips and Brian Dempsey, Timbs was the only other Longhorn to break into double digits on his own, earning 13 points by the end of the night.
“Chase and Brian play well together and are playing bet¬ter together,” began Atwood, “but I thought Dalton Timbs did a good job. Timbs stepped up. He’s kind of been strug¬gling but he knocked down a few big shots tonight. I tell you though, what won the game was the defense.”For his part, Dalton seemed to agree with Atwood’s assess¬ment of the win, but also went on to project what these types of huge successes could mean further down the road. “This is huge,” Timbs said. “What Atwood makes us practice the most is defense. I felt a whole lot better about it. We were feeling good, but that’s what it is. We’re all really close. To win any conference game on the road is huge, but from here it’s just a new day and a new game. We’ve always played better in the tournament at the end of the season and we already started out well this year.”By the start of the fourth, Johnson County was leading by a whopping 33-19. Even so, the Longhorns never had it easy and couldn’t let down their guard without the Patriots managing to cut the deficit by a few points. However, with a solid ten points between them throughout the last five minutes of the game, the clock began to work against Sullivan East. Players like freshman Austin Houser came in off the bench, adding a few more points to record, and with J.R. Speed doing a good job of handling the flow of the game down the final stretch, Johnson County walked away with an amazing 49-33 win.
While any victory over a good team like the Patriots is a reason to celebrate for Coach Atwood, being on the road with so many alumni in attendance made it that much more special. “There was a lot of alumni here tonight,” Atwood said, “probably the most alumni from Johnson County at a home game or an away game either one. There were a lot of great players, the guys that were the last undefeated team in our conference. There were a lot of guys here that wanted to see how much progress, how our kids are playing and I think we fell into that and that’s why we defended so well. We’ve got a lot of things to work on, a long way to go, but that was a good game. That was a pretty good effort. To get one on the road no matter who you are playing, we’ll take that any day.”
Final Score: Johnson County 49- Sullivan East 33
Chase Phillips 16
Brian Dempsey 14
Dalton Timbs 13
Brandon Vannoy 2
J.R. Speed 2
Austin Houser 2