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JCHS Boys, Girls play strong in Three Rivers Jamboree


The first dress rehearsal for the JCHS Boys turned out to be a very positive one against the preseason Three Rivers Conference favorite.
The Longhorns lost 26-16 to Sullivan East at the Three Rivers Conference Jamboree in Elizabethon, but played toe-to-toe with the Patriots most of the way.
JCHS played well as Jason Steele was dominant inside with eight points while Dusty Stout had three, Andy Stout and Austin Humphrey had two and Jason Dugger finished with one.
The Longhorns were very impressive at times as it took a late run by East to close the deal.
JCHS was only down 14-13 with two minutes to go in the game.
“We defended a lot differently than we would in a regular game,” JCHS head coach Austin Atwood said. “We had trouble on their ball screens, but we’ll defend them differently in a regular game. What we did was very good. We were as good as anybody there as far as playing hard the whole time. The effort level was there the whole way through.”
Atwood said winning the scrimmage was not the goal.
“We didn’t play for the win, but I thought when they were all in there and they were playing their guys there wasn’t a huge difference. All the way through they’re better than we are,” Atwood said.
One nice surprise was the play of Jason Dugger, who has returned to Longhorn Basketball after a year away from the game.
Dugger along with Austin Humphrey, were terrors on the boards and Dugger’s defense should give JCHS a chance to win most games.
“I’m glad for him because he’s made an effort to turn himself around and to be a good player,” Atwood said. “He can also score and he plays well around the basket. We’re pleased with how he’s coming around.”
The Longhorns did not get a lot of production out of the bench, but the Longhorns are working on that.
“They’re a work in progress.” Atwood said. “Early on we’ll go eight or nine deep, but we’ll probably slim it down to eight. “Sammy Hampton is very capable of working himself in the starting lineup.”
As far as how the Jamboree went, Unicoi County and Happy Valley were both very impressive, but not many teams were really showing what they had.
“It’s a balanced league and there’s not any weak links,” Atwood said. “Nobody is at the very bottom. I don’t think the winner is going to go undefeated. No way that it is going to happen.”
Sullivan East 16
The Lady Longhorns looked much improved in their scrimmage with Sullivan East, as the Lady Longhorns showed a real competitive fire.
Though the shots weren’t falling, JCHS played outstanding defense and gave an outstanding effort.
Head Coach Todd Whittemore thought it was a good first step.
“We’re a little behind offensively, but I did like our “D”, Whittemore said. “We showed very little, but even in a man-to-man with a pretty decent East team, we held them to 16 points, so I was very pleased with that.”
The hustle that JCHS showed was a great way to show the conference that this team is going to play hard every night.
The Longhorns dove for loose balls and Whittemore was very pleased.
“We were on the floor five times for loose balls and we took a charge and didn’t get it, but I really liked our toughness and desire on defense,” he said. “We were undersized, but we’ve got to lean how to take charges and block out more, but I really thought we had some opportunities for more offensive rebounding. When we’re on offense we want one going back and four rebounding and right now we only have about two going to the boards on offense.
The Lady Longhorns right now are trying to get better and a win in the Jamboree was not their goal.
“We played to try to win, but we weren’t going to win at all cost,” Whiitemore said. “We weren’t going to show what we were doing because every team in the conference was there. As little as we did show, I thought we did a good job.”
Rebecca Royston led JCHS with four points with Brooke Brown and Andrea Eller netting two.