By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
Johnson Countys super-ball like performance allowed them to bounce back against Mitchell County, North Carolina in a big way on Saturday. The Longhorns spurted their way to an 81-50 win in a Hall of Fame game inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium.
The Horns were coming off a loss to Science Hill on Friday and they wasted no time establishing the tempo. The first quarter was played at an up-and-down pace much to the delight of head coach Austin Atwood. But he also found fault at times in his teams lackadaisical play.
We did some things better tonight than we did last night, said Atwood. But Im disappointed that we dont have that killer instinct like a Science Hill or a David Crockett. When they get down they put them away and dont let them hang around. We had a chance to do that early but we didnt. Thats the thing Im disappointed in most.
To say the win was a team effort would be an understatement. Atwood used 11 players in the first eight minutes and eight scored. All 14 players that dressed scored in the game.
Seven points by Cody Bailie and a three-ball from freshman Blake Atwood highlighted the first stanza for Johnson County. Eight players scored in the period including four points and three rebounds by Caleb Troop.
Their lead was 24-14 after one.
Mitchell County managed to hang around due to Max Spurlings 15 first half points, nine which came from the charity stripe.
Austin Houser had started the quarter with a deuce followed by five points from Jose Guzman that pushed the lead at 31-14.
A wholesale of substitutions inserted nearly backfired on the Longhorns. The Mountaineers went on a 17-6 run from there and trailed by only six, 37-31 at the half.
Atwood took a song made famous by the Marshall Tucker Band and delivered it to perfection during his intermission speech. A little Fire on the Mountain appeared to light a spark under the Longhorns to start the third. They turned up the heat on defense that produced several fast break points.
Brandon Vannoy led the charge with three baskets including one floater that dazzled the crowd. Nathan Arnolds steal and layup pushed the lead back to double-digits then it was Katy bar the door from there.
Bud Icenhours three-ball gave them a 21-point cushion (60-39) with 23 seconds remaining in the quarter. Four points each by Throop and Houser sparked a 10-2 run late in the frame.
Johnson County refused to play out the string despite having its reserves on the floor. They hustled their way to 21 fourth quarter points unlike their lackluster play during the final five minutes of the first half.
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