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Horns lose tough game to Cyclones

Going up against Elizabethton for the second time this season, the Johnson County Longhorns put up a hard fight but were unable to gain any ground against the Cyclones. Despite a hard loss at 47-73, the game will be remembered not so much for its outcome but because it was the last game for one of the Longhorns’ own.
Starting out at Roan Creek Elementary and moving on into Johnson County Middle School, J.R. Speed has always loved basketball. After successfully making his way onto not only the JV but varsity team as well, Speed began to really show his skills and became a valuable asset to the Longhorns overall. Unfortunately, Speed was forced to announce recently that his family would be moving, bringing an end to the many years he has played alongside his Johnson County teammates.
“We’re moving to Meridian, Mississippi,” said Speed. “There was a good job offer for my dad there, but it’s pretty tough. I grew up here and it’s really my home. I’ve got a good opportunity down there but hopefully I can get back someday. I have some good memories playing ball, especially in seventh grade winning district tournament, and now making the high school basketball team and playing under Coach Austin Atwood and David Arnold with my teammates. Tonight I just wanted to go out there and do good for my team, play a good game, and leave on a good note.”
With nine points overall, including a three-pointer in the third quarter, Speed did well against the Cyclones, tying with Carlton Tugman for high scorer in the game. Yet, despite making several good plays throughout the night, Johnson County could not keep pace with the bigger school. According to Coach Austin Atwood, “These guys are playing well. They’re like East and Erwin, they’re long and they play tough. They played that solid man to man and we just had some trouble early. We always have some trouble scoring, but they hit the boards hard. I thought we were pretty physical and did some good things, but it’s hard to go 32 minutes against a good team that can bring in players off the bench where they don’t lose much.”
The first quarter was plagued with foul trouble for the Longhorns, causing Johnson County to fall behind by seven within the first two minutes and got progressively worse as the game went on. A push midway through the period put the score to 6-9, but became the closest point of the game as the Cyclones took off in the second quarter.
Even with several early free throws by Dusty Stout and Brian Dempsey, Elizabethton had doubled Johnson County’s score by the midway through the second quarter at 10-20, and then continued on to make 12 more points by the half. A three-point shot by Carlton Tugman brought the Longhorns up to 14 with three minutes on the clock, but was unable to create any momentum as Johnson County did not score again in the quarter.
The Longhorns did pick up their pace in the third, gaining more points than they had in the whole first half, but were kept in check by an equally energized Elizabethton. With only seconds between buckets, the third quarter was a back and forth race that saw the Cyclones’ lead grow to 20 at 35-55. With much of their effort spent, a weary team of Longhorns pushed their way on through the fourth but the score only got progressively worse.
Stuck at 37 for the first half of the quarter, Johnson County managed 10 more points to close out the game with 47, but was devastated by an onslaught of Cyclone buckets late in the period. A final basket with only seconds on the clock finished up Elizabethton with 73.
Final Scores: Johnson County 47, Elizabethton 73
Carlton Tugman 9
J.R. Speed 9
Brian Dempsey 7
Chase Kleine 7
Chase Phillips 6
Dusty Stout 4
River Cazire 2
Quinton Wright 2
Dalton Timbs 1
Boys JV
Johnson County 35, Elizabethton 54
Brian Dempsey 8
Tyler Shaw 6
Chase Phillips 5
Scottie Tester 4
River Cazire 4
Dalton Timbs 4
Patrick South 2
Chris Poteet 2