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JCHS Longhorns’ gridiron success expected to carry over to hardwood

JCHS Boys Varsity Basketball Team 2017-18

By Tim Chambers

Trying to gauge Johnson County’s boys’ basketball team in the first few weeks could be like tearing into a new box of Whitman’s chocolates at Christmas time. You don’t know what you’re getting but it’s sure to be pretty good.
The Longhorns are expected to start slow due to five key players just back from their record-setting football season but that won’t last long. The kinks will be worked out like water running through a nylon pocket hose once they get a few weeks of practice under their belts.
“Getting them back from football this late is a great problem you would love to have every year,” said JCHS’ head coach Austin Atwood. “I’m expecting the success that our football team had to carry over onto the basketball court. We will have sea legs for a while so it might be after Christmas before we get into basketball shape. It’s been a real blessing because some of our kids have gotten varsity work due to them not being in here. We have a lot of kids 6’0 to 6’2 so we have to defend well. We’ve got to shoot the ball well and defend because that’s what we’ll hang our hats on. We need to rebound and box out because we’ll be going up against some much bigger teams. That might be a problem for us all year.”

The starting five is one with plenty of experience. Bud Icenhour (6’0, Sr.), Sean Lewis (6’0, Sr.), Nathan Arnold (6’3, Sr.), Jordan Edes-King (6’2, Sr.) and Blake Atwood (5-11, Jr.) will comprise the first unit.
Icenhour is a four-year starter while Arnold and Atwood will be in their third year as starters along with Lewis. Icenhour averaged 14 points per game as a junior and is closing in on the 1000-point mark.
Atwood averaged 13 points per game and was tabbed as the conference’s Underclassman of the Year last season.
Lewis recorded 10 points per game as a junior. Edes-King and Arnold led the rebounding with eight each per game.
The bench should be strong with the likes of Troy Arnold (6’0, Jr.), Zack Eller (5’7, Jr.), Jimmy Bower (6’1, Sr.) and Gavin Reece (5’10, Jr.).
“We just don’t have a true post player so Jordan and Nathan will have to play big,” added Atwood. “We should have eight or nine players that can shoot the basketball including our kids coming off the bench. Zach Eller is one of those kids that could crack the starting five at anytime. He had a great summer and can shoot the ball really well. Troy played good too and will definitely see some time on the inside,” Atwood went on to say.

“It’s going to be a grind but we need to learn how to win. I’m expecting our league to be balanced like it has been in years past. I’m hoping that we will be in that mix after Christmas.”

2017-18 Johnson County Longhorns

3 – Bud Icenhour Sr. G 6’0
5 – Zach Eller Jr. G 5’7
10—Jimmy Bower Sr. G 6’1
11—Blake Atwood Jr. G 5’11
12—Nathan Arnold Sr. F 6’3
15—Darren Cunningham Jr. F 6’0
20—Lane Isaacs Sr. G 5’9
21—Jordan Edes-King Sr. F 6’2
24—Sean Lewis Sr. G 6’0
32—Lucas Phillips So. G 5’10
34—Gavin Reece Jr. G 5’9
35—Zack Winters Jr. G 5’10
41—Luke Rash Jr. C 6’6
44—Troy Arnold Jr. F 6’1


2017-18 Johnson County Longhorns Schedule

18 – Daniel Boone (Hall of Champions)
21 – Cloudland
27 – at West Wilkes, NC
28 – Unaka

1 – at Elizabethton
5 – Dobyns-Bennett
7-10 –Steamboat Shootout Colorado (Boys only)
14 – at Unaka
15 – Unicoi County
21 – at Hampton,
22 – West Wilkes, NC

2 – at Cloudland,
5 – at Sullivan Central
9 – Happy Valley
12 – Sullivan East
16 – at Sullivan South
19 – Elizabethton
22 – at Dobyns-Bennett
26 – at Unicoi County
30 – Sullivan Central

2 – at Happy Valley
3 – Hampton
6 – at Sullivan East
9 – Sullivan South
14-20 – District 1-AAA Tournament at Elizabethton
23-28 – Region 1-AAA Tournament