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JCHS Basketball team sees postseason end with Region Semifinal loss

The JCHS Boys Basketball Team went through a second quarter lull against Greeneville Tuesday night and saw their miracle run through the postseason come to an end.
The Longhorns were outscored 18-6 in the second quarter and though JCHS fought back, it wasn't enough as the Greene Devils won 54-41 and thus ended the Longhorns miraculous season.
After finishing last in the Three Rivers Conference during the regular season, JCHS had a postseason to remember as it reached the District final and was one game away from the substate.
This night though belonged to the Greene Devils as JCHS only scored 14 first half points and trailed 25-14 at the break.
Neither team really burned it up from the field, but Greeneville shot a little better than JCHS and that was the difference.
“It seems like we always go through that one spurt and you can't do that against good teams, but we missed a lot of shots we usually make,” JCHS head coach Austin Atwood said. “They got a couple of good bounces and it's tough to win when you're that good and you get a couple of bounces to go along with it.
Just like every game in the postseason, the Longhorns once again showed a fight that has become the trademark of this Cinderella story.
Jason Steele came out on fire in the third quarter and hit two big buckets to begin the half. From there the Longhorns fought and were able to get back into the basketball game.
The score at one point was 38-34 Greeneville and the Longhorns were back in business.
JCHS cut the deficit back to four again at 40-36, but then Greeneville took over from there.
“They had a good game plan on Jason, but in the second half we did a better job getting the ball to him,” Atwood said. “Some of our guys didn’t make shots when they needed to.
Greeneville, who has produced well-known players like former ETSU star Marty Story and College of Charleston standout Antoine Wiggins, was a basketball powerhouse in Class AAA for years before dropping down to Class AA last season.
Though Greeneville may not be as tough as it used to be, the Greene Devils are still a very good basketball team that can really shoot the three.
Tuesday night, it wasn't the outside shot that hurt JCHS but rather the inside of play of Chaz Story, one of the stars on Greeneville's state championship football team.
Though Story really was the difference maker, JCHS should be commended for shutting down an outstanding outside attack by Greeneville.
The Longhorns also held Greeneville's potent offense to 54 points. The Longhorn defense was giving up over 70 points a game at one point during the season.
“We're a defensive minded team and we were definitely not going to give up any threes,” Atwood said.
This was the fourth Region Semifinal defeat for JCHS in five years, but this year the Longhorns weren't expected to be in this position, unlike the previous two in 2008 and 2009 when most people expected JCHS to win.
It may have been a very special run to the semifinals, but Tuesday's loss still hurt and disappointed JCHS.
“We felt like if we showed up we were going to win the game and it's tough,” Atwood said. “I hate it for Austin Humphrey because he did a heck of a job. I hate it for these guys because it's their last game.”
For two weeks, Johnson County fell in love with a group of blue-collar boys who showed a lot of pride in wearing the maroon and white.
“The town really got behind us and we appreciate that,” Atwood said. “We'll take a few hours off and get back at it with our younger kids.”
JCHS head coach Austin Atwood has definitely worked hard to provide a memorable two weeks, but he also credits his assistants, David Arnold and Jeff Pardue, for giving him the help he needs.
“We definitely wouldn't be where we're at right now without David and Jeff,” Atwood said. “They really help me in practice with David working on the guards and then to have one of the best post players to ever play at our high school in Coach Pardue and Jason has become one of the best post players to ever play, but Jason wouldn't be where he's at without Jeff challenging him and pushing him a little bit. David has been with me a long time and to get somebody of his quality you can't touch it.”
JCHS Scoring: Jason Steele 23, Chase Kleine 2, Cody Brown 10, Austin Humphrey 6.