By Tim Chambers
Jerry Reed once sang, “When you’re hot, you’re hot” and Johnson County was definitely that in the second quarter of Friday’s game versus Elizabethton. The Longhorns shot a sizzling 91 percent from the field and outscored the Cyclones 27-7 that sparked them to an impressive 71-54 Three Rivers Conference victory inside a packed Ray Shoun Gymnasium.
It was definitely the best single quarter of basketball played by the Longhorns in quite some time and one that ‘Betsy would just as soon forget. They trailed 18-14 after one but found themselves in front 41-25 at the half.
“I am most proud of how we kept our composure at the start because Elizabethton is well coached by Lucas Honeycutt,” said Atwood. “They run their offense smooth, they’re patient and they don’t take bad shots. We finally started getting some pressure on them and they turned it over some and we capitalized off that. We finally took the lead and our guys didn’t let up. We shot the ball about as well as we could in the second quarter. It was definitely one of our better all around games.”
Elizabethton’s fast start brings out the best in Johnson County
The Cyclones used five points each from Parker Hughes, Eric Wilson and Will Miller to build their four-point advantage but the tide would turn a 180 during the second period.
The Cyclones began turning the ball over and Johnson County began to shoot the lights out. The Longhorns opened the quarter by going on a massive 23-0 run and led 37-18 at the 2:43 mark.
Bud Icenhour had eight points including two treys during the run. Blake Atwood drained a couple more trifectas and Zack Eller got loose for five points as did Jordan Edes.
The quarter was highlighted with consecutive treys by Icenhour, Atwood and Eller and a 3-point play from Edes.
Elizabethton ended their near seven-minute drought with a basket but Eller’ steal and layup and another good move in the paint from Edes allowed the Longhorns to maintain a hefty 16-point advantage at intermission.
Icenhour ended the half with 16 points including 11 in the second quarter. He was limited to three free throws in the third stanza but Atwood and Eller made sure that their lead would not be relinquished.
Both had five points that helped them maintain a 12-point advantage heading into the final frame.
Longhorns still clicking on all cylinders
Another fast start by the Longhorns would quickly push the lead to 21 with 5:27 remaining in the game.
The Longhorns used baskets from Atwood, Icenhour and Eller that got the lead back to 20, then Gavin Reece added a floating jumper that gave them a 71-50 advantage with 1:15 remaining.
Johnson County placed four players in double figures led by Icenhour’s 23 points. Atwood added 16 points and a whopping eight assists. Eller finished the night with 16 points and three steals. Edes collected 11 points and five rebounds.
The Longhorns also got some solid play from Nathan Arnold, six rebounds and four assists. Troy Arnold and Gavin Reece had a basket each and played well in their reserve roles.
Eric Wilson led the Cyclones with 12 points and nine rebounds. Will Miller provided 11 points and freshman Parker Hughes collected 10 points.
The Longhorns are now tied with Sullivan South for third in the conference race at 3-3. Sullivan East is currently second at 3-2. Elizabethton and Sullivan Central are 3-4.
The Longhorns will play undefeated Unicoi County (7-0) on Friday on the road.
Johnson County 71, Elizabethton 54
JOHNSON CO. (71)
Icenhour 23, Atwood 16, Eller 16, Edes 11, N. Arnold 1, T. Arnold 2, Reece 2.
Wilson 12, Miller 11, Hughes 10, Cornett 8, Ashley 8. Hayes 2, Holly 1
Elizabethton 18 7 17 12 — 54
Johnson Co. 14 27 13 17 — 71
3-point goals—JC 12 (Icenhour 5, Atwood 4, Eller 3) Eliz. 4 (Ashley 2, Hughes 1, Miller 1)