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JCHS loses heartbreaker to Happy Valley

In a game that kept fingers crossed to the very end, the Johnson County Longhorns put on an amazing show against the Happy Valley Warriors Tuesday night. With a final score of 39-41 Johnson County was narrowly defeated after pulling back from a more than 10-point deficit in the third quarter. “We just lost that game in the first half. We just came out not ready to play,” said Coach Austin Atwood. “When you play Charlie Bayless in his own gym being down 10 is like being down 15 or 20 with anyone else. We had to fight so hard two different times to get back into the game. We’re not ready to play 32 minutes of full court like that. We didn’t rebound well and I hate to compare to how they passed out there.”
With a strong display of defense from both teams in the first quarter, the game started off on a fairly level foot, with the Longhorns tying 9-9 just before taking their only lead in the game at 11-9. Ultimately, the first quarter ended in favor of the Warriors at 11-13. The second quarter followed much the same suit, as a poor start left the Longhorns fighting hard to catch up just before half time. Dropping to 13-20 at one point the score at the buzzer ended up a much better 19-23. According to Atwood, “We did a great job the last two minutes of the second quarter, but Happy Valley came out and got the lead again. If they played with the intensity they played the second half the whole game, and they played half court defense like they played that full court pressure stuff we would have won.”
The third quarter proved to be the worst for the Longhorns. With 2 minutes 45 seconds on the clock Johnson County was behind by 12 and despite repeated efforts could not get any closer than 10. The story was much different during the fourth, as the clock wound down and the Longhorns began to heat up. With more than 4 minutes left in the game the boys were still down by 6, but over the next two minutes brought the score within one basket of being even. Yet, it seemed that every time Johnson County was able to get a basket so did Happy Valley.
With only 50 seconds left, the game finally tied up again at 39-39, but an unfortunate foul gave the Warriors a two point lead. The most intense moment came at 33 seconds left in the game. At that moment Johnson County called a time out to make their final plans. Down by two, but in possession of the ball, it would only take one successful basket to go into overtime or a three pointer to win the game. Running a successful play in the very last seconds, the boys got the ball to the goal but much to their disappointment could not get it through the net.
For Dusty Stout, who made one of the last shots in the game it was a particularly hard ending, “I just wish I could have knocked in that last shot. It’s still playing back in my head. We just couldn’t execute our plays. It was getting too hectic.” Atwood seemed a little more optimistic at the game’s outcome commenting that, “They played harder and were ready to go there on the end. Everybody’s got to contribute. We’re trying to get these young guys time in pressure situations. We’ve just got to learn from it. Our goal is to be the best team we can be in January and February and that’s still our goal.”
Final Scores
Dusty Stout 11
Carlton Tugman 8
J.R. Speed 7
Brian Dempsey 6
T.J. Patterson 4
Ryan Mahala 2
Quinton Wright 1