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JCHS Girls compete in Chili’s Thanksgiving Classic

By Matt Hill

The JCHS Lady Longhorns are still trying to get things going, but they continue to battle and fight, something that pleases JCHS head coach Todd Whittemore.
JCHS lost to David Crockett Friday 51-28 at the Chili’s Thanksgiving Tip-Off Classic at Happy Valley High School. Still, Coach Whittemore is finding things he is pleased with out of his team.
The Lady Longhorns opened the game on an 11-1 run following a technical foul to begin the game because of a mistake in the scorebook, but then foul trouble plagued JCHS.
“After that 11-1, we had three starters sitting out in the first half and we’re not that deep yet. We will be deep in another year or two, but not right now. Those girls who came off the bench can’t just foul. If we can get them to play defense without fouling, we’ll get them to hit some bad shots. This is such a work in progress that I have to evaluate what our weaknesses are.” We have to block out and rebound better, we have to hit our foul shots and the No. 1 thing is to handle the press. We started the process today in practice as we went five against eight and that’s how we prepared for Dobyns-Bennett and Science Hill when I was at Volunteer.
“The girls are working hard and I appreciate them so much and they have good attitudes and I feel for the seniors because I want them to have success and these younger girls are trying. We’re getting drilled in games and these girls still come to practice and try their butts off. None of them have a bad attitude and that’s hard to do with guys.”
JCHS couldn’t overcome a rash of fouling as at one time JCHS had 11 fouls to Crockett’s one.
The Lady Longhorns went cold from the field and JCHS couldn’t overcome 24 points by Brittany Ward.
Crockett led 22-12 at the half and then in the second half slowly pulled away as JCHS was mired in foul trouble.
Freshman Brandy Dugger scored 10 points while Sarah Swift played well in the post, getting some key rebounds.
JCHS does have a long way to go, but the Lady Longhorns are winning respect every day.
“They have a good attitude and they’re working hard, but I need to do a better job of knowing what we need to do so that we can have a chance to win. I’m looking at the big picture and I have to hope that by tournament time all these young players have gotten better and we can beat some people. Unfortunately today Crockett is a team we could have beaten, but based on us fouling the crap out of them and getting into foul trouble and based on turning the ball over 30 times we took that opportunity away. I’d say we were pretty even skill-wise, but I would say they were more experienced.”
SCORING: Brandy Dugger 10, Brooke Brown 5, Rebecca Royston 4, Andrea Eller 3, Nikki Farrow 2, Sarah Swift 2, Caitlin Westphal 2.
Saturday’s Game
Cloudland 69
The Lady Longhorns struggled in the first half, but played a very solid second half.
JCHS trailed 25-4 after the first quarter, but then played pretty even in the second half until the last couple of minutes in the game.
JCHS was getting loose balls and started hitting some shots.
“I was very happy with the second half and I was very proud of them,” Whittemore said. “That was our sixth game in seven days and these girls gave up their Thanksgiving vacation and in the first half we didn’t play with the same energy that we had. We tried to stay positive and there was a 10-minute stretch in the second half where we really played. They played the best team basketball I’ve seen from them yet. For ten minutes today it was beautiful and so much fun to watch. I just want to cheer for them. If we can play 32 minutes like we did that 10, we can beat some good teams.”
Andrea Eller played extremely well, scoring nine points and played good defense. Brandy Dugger had some key offensive rebounds and finished with eight points.
Rebecca Royston, Kristin Roark and Sarah Swift had four and Brooke Brown finished with two.
Wednesday’s Game
Unaka 58
The Lady Longhorns had a rough night against the Lady Rangers as JCHS saw a competitive game explode in the second half.
JCHS only tralied 9-8 after the first quarter, then went on a 20-10 run in the second to take a 29-18 advantage going into halftime.
After trailing 40-26 going into the fourth quarter, the Lady Rangers went on an 18-2 run to end the contest.
SCORING: Andrea Eller 4, Rebecca Royston 10, Sarah Swift 6, Brooke Brown 2, Brionna Reece 6.
Last Monday’s Game
Hampton 56
Hampton led 42-10 at the half, but JCHS never quit and gave a great second half effort.
The Lady Longhorns were out of sorts early and a very good Hampton team raced out to a huge lead.
However, the Lady Longhorns are continuing to create an identity they showed against Daniel Boone and it showed in the second half against the Lady Bulldogs.
“I don’t want people getting down on us and I tell my girls that we have to take baby steps,” JCHS head coach Todd Whittemore said. “You can’t just go from what’s been happening to where we want to be. It’s a process and I think one of the reasons why I’m here is to help these girls understand that it’s not going to happen in just one game. We did get a little bit better today. We didn’t quit and we didn’t give up. I hope those people out there saw a difference. I hope they saw that they are going to fight until the end and if we keep working hard we’ll have a chance.
The Lady Longhorns are without point guard Chevy Leonard indefinitely and JCHS has had to overcome that.
Sarah Swift started the game at point guard and Brooke Brown came in and handled most of the duties.
Ciera Boudle also played some there and played well at the end.
“We’ve just got to get a little bit better each other and our goal is to peak at the tournament,” Whittemore said.
Rebecca Royston and Brandy Dugger each had six points, Chelsea McCullouch had five, Brionna Reece had four, Ciera Boudle and Sarah Swift each had three and Andrea Eller tallied one.
Upcoming JCHS Games
12-3 at Holston, Va.
12-6 at Cloudland
12-7 Sullivan North