By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
Johnson County knocked off Sullivan North on Friday but had to work like government mules in overtime to do it. They tilted the Golden Raiders 57-49 inside of a crowded Ray Shoun Gymnasium.
It was a carbon copy of the girls contest in which Johnson County won 62-55 in overtime. The win guarantees them at least the fifth seed with three more conference games remaining.
Rebounding and defending were the keys in this game, said Johnson Countys head coach Austin Atwood. We did both of them well but they did a good job of tweaking their defense and kept us pushed out. We didnt attack the basket like we should have. But for us to win this game and not play well offensively says a lot about their character. Were tickled to death to get a win. Theyre tough for us to match up with.
It didnt appear that way in the first half.
Johnson County (3-6, 12-10) led 13-9 after one and extended it to 32-17 at the half behind eight points from Codie Bailie and four more by Austin Houser.
Nathan Arnold played a big role with some key hustle plays. He out-battled North four times on the offensive board which resulted in six points being scored by Bailie off tipped balls.
But all that changed during the third.
The Longhorns went ice cold and were outscored by North 10-3 which whittled down their advantage to 35-27. And it didnt take the Golden Raiders much longer to pull dead even.
Three-point plays by Devan Price and Zack Byrns got them within three at 45-42. Tyler Arnolds three-ball tied it at 45 all with 1:03 remaining.
Neither squad could sink the game winner in regulation.
Johnson County started well in the overtime period getting a three-point play by Bailie and a runner from Phillips to go up 50-45.
A pair of nifty layups off backdoor cuts by Guzman and Houser would put the game out of reach.
Phillips dazzled the crowd with 19 points and 19 rebounds. He was 9-of-10 from the foul line.
I havent shot well in four games so I decided to crash the boards and get rebounds, said Phillips. I know my shots will fall eventually. Scoring is not the only thing I need to do to help us win. Ill get others the ball when Im not shooting well.
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