By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
Johnson County is suddenly beginning to find its groove. In a Steller-like performance the Longhorns routed Sullivan North 59-33 inside of a jammed packed Ray Shoun Gymnasium on Friday.
It was another big stride for the Longhorns who moved into a third place tie with Elizabethton in the Three Rivers Conference.
Theyll face the Cyclones on Friday after their showdown with Sullivan East on Tuesday.
The Longhorns started slow, leading 9-6 after the first quarter. But they played lights out over the next three frames especially on the defensive end.
They held the Golden Raiders to only nine first half points and five total rebounds at the half. Defense, rebounding and the crowd proved to be the difference in the game.
We defended every shot they took and our rebounding was outstanding, said Johnson County head coach Austin Atwood. We passed the ball well when they went to that zone, but we still missed some easy shots. Our defense was excellent, especially Nathan (Arnold) who shut down their best player. And the crowd noise was great. Everyone was into the game.
Johnson County started a little sluggish in the first quarter but things got smoother during the final two minutes.
Sean Lewis drained a three-ball late in the first quarter that put Johnson County in front to stay at 9-6. That bucket ignited the crowd and the Horns caught fire from that point.
Bud Icenhour tallied five quick points including a long trey that made it 14-6. Another trey by Jose Guzman would extend their lead to 11.
The Longhorn partisan crowd gave their approval when back to back feeds to Brandon Vannoy by Cody Bailie and Blake Atwood resulted in two backdoor layups that pushed their lead to 23-7.
The Longhorns led 25-9 at halftime after Vannoys steal and layup in the final seconds.
Sullivan Norths halftime adjustments didnt slow down the Longhorns during the third quarter.
Austin Housers three ball and a nice spin move by Bailie got things off and running. Four points from Caleb Throop and another Atwood trey were enough to extend their advantage to 21.
North reeled off six straight points at one point and cut it to 15 but Johnson Countys defense would hunker down allowing more them no more scoring opportunities.
A three-ball by Lewis and deuces from Houser and Atwood gave Johnson County a 28-point advantage. Their largest lead of the game was 59-28 after Dawson Snyder drained a long three with 2:10 remaining.
The Longhorns didnt have a player reach double figures but the scoring and rebounding were well balanced.
Icenhour had nine points to lead the way. Vannoy and Lewis added eight apiece. Atwood and Houser provided seven each. Caleb Throop recorded six and Guzman tossed in five. Arnold, Bailie and Snyder scored three apiece.
Arnold led the team in rebounding with six. Jose Guzman and Houser provided five apiece. Bailie contributed five assists and three steals.
Devin Price led North with eight points.
Johnson County will now eye upcoming home games with league leading Sullivan East on Tuesday and Elizabethton on Friday.
Johnson County 65
Sullivan North 29
Nearly everyone scored for the Longhorns in their lopsided win over the Golden Raiders.
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