Johnson County Middle School had a big night at Hampton last week. The seventh grade girls JV team kicked off the evening with a strong fourth quarter performance that came up just short of the win at 19-23. With the notable exception of the first quarter, Johnson County did very well holding back the Lady Bulldogs and putting up enough points to stay in the game all the way down to the last minute.
As Coach Janet Brooks pointed out, a lack of successful buckets early dug a hole that the Lady Longhorns had trouble getting out of. Our shots just werent falling, Brooks said. We kind of lost our composure and we didnt pull it back together until the fourth quarter, but by then it was too late. Theyve been doing well. Theyre 6 and 2 in the conference and 11 and 4 overall. We actually beat Hampton at home by about 15 points but our shots just werent falling there in the first. That kind of put us down and we just didnt pick our momentum back up until the fourth quarter and really started playing.
After a tough start Courtney Brooks was finally able to land a big three pointer in the second quarter along with a couple of buckets from Britani Cox and Brittney Brooks to give the Longhorns 7. The third saw only one free throw, also by Brittney Brooks who then exploded onto the court in the fourth to put up three consecutive baskets. Another shot by sister, Courtney Brooks as well as one from Miranda Stout closed out the game at 19.
Although the seventh grade game was a close match up in the end, it still couldnt compare with the true nail biter that the eighth grade played later on. After going up against Hampton three times earlier in the season and all with narrow losses, coach Rick Snyder knew coming into the game that it would be a close match up but was very excited to walk away with a 35-33 win. Weve played them 4 times now this year, Snyder said. All of them have been close but this was the first one where we came out on top. I knew we had it in us but we just hadnt got over the hump yet. Tonight we finally did. I think we played better team ball tonight and better defense. That was the difference between this game and the first three.
The first quarter saw the Lady Longhorns come out on top by just one point at 8-7 after trailing the whole period. With Hampton taking the initiative, at one point Johnson County was down 4-7, but a couple of good shots from the Brooks sisters, who play on both teams, allowed the Lady Longhorns to finally gain control.
Jumping ahead 10-7 at the beginning of the second, the Bulldogs were quick to catch up and the game rapidly became a race to halftime. Hampton was finally able to pull ahead with two minutes still on the clock, but a last second shot from Courtney Brooks pushed the Lady Longhorns back out front to end the half at 14-13.
A strong defensive performance from players like Maddie South, Marly Eggers, and Michala Cretsinger helped to keep the Bulldogs off the scoreboard late in the game. Cretsinger in particular proved to be an invaluable asset to the team, both in applying pressure defensively as well as bringing the ball down the court and scoring. Racking up 10 points overall, Cretsinger landed about a third of the Lady Longhorns total points, but foul trouble early in the game lead to her missing out on much of the fourth quarter.
We lose a lot when Michala goes out, Snyder said. I probably should have pulled her out earlier in the first half to keep her from getting that third foul, but I didnt. That cost us at the end, not having her in there to handle the ball well, but the other girls stepped up and Im proud of them.
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