By Tim Chambers
It has been a rocky start for Johnson County so far in conference play but their senior leader is hoping all that changes in 2017. Austin Houser has played all four years and remembers the magic he saw during his freshman season as a varsity member.
“We didn’t start out very well, but the team hit its stride midway in the year,” said Houser. “It was a great run and we made it to the sub-state. That’s the type of season we want to get back to. Our goal is to win the District and Regional tournament, but we definitely want to make it. We’ve got to get back to playing like we were early. We all have been working hard to get better.”
The Longhorns are currently 0-2 in league play with a road game at Unicoi County on Tuesday. Houser knows what the team needs to do in order to make a run at a top four spot.
“This team has to get tougher,” said Houser. “We’ve got to win all our remaining games at home and steal a few on the road. We shouldn’t have lost the Happy Valley game and we didn’t play well at all against Elizabethton. We’ve got to start playing the way we’re capable of and with more consistency.”
Houser said that one former Longhorn has had a big impact on his playing career.
“I look up to Brian Dempsey and the way he played,” said Houser. “I remember playing against him in practice and how he always tried to help me. I’ve got to try and play like he did, scoring and rebounding. We can’t wait around for five or six more games before we get going. That has to all start this week. We need everyone on the team to take their game up a notch or two.”
Houser is the son of Danny and Melissa Houser. He has a younger sister, Emily, as a third grade student at Mountain City Elementary.
His team will play Cloudland on Saturday and then get back in conference play next week against Sullivan South at home on Tuesday and at North on Friday.
“Every conference game is big from here on out,” said Houser. “We’ve need to win all of them and we’re capable of doing that if we play well.”