By Tim Chambers
Steamboat Springs, Colorado is a tourist attraction noted for skiing, hot springs and the home of famous sports broadcaster Verne Lundquist who resides there. It’s also the place that has sent several athletes to the winter Olympics over the years and many medal winners.
The town has a history so it was quite an honor for the boys’ varsity basketball team to travel there on Wednesday to compete in the Steamboat Springs Shootout for three days.
The team flew out of Charlotte on Wednesday en route to their destination over 1600 miles away.
They took part in their first game on Thursday night which started at 10:30 pm our time. Their opponent was a two-time defending state championship team out of Denver, Colorado.
Legs gone by halftime and so was their lead
The Longhorns led after the first quarter and trailed by only one at halftime. But the high altitude would do them in during the second half. Atwood said it was a lesson learned they didn’t expect.
“I was talking to the game officials after we finished playing and they stated that they knew we were in trouble. They had overheard a few of our kids talking about not being able to feel their legs going into the locker room at halftime. We never did seem to find our second wind.”
Red hot shooting by the opposition and then some
Their observation would fit the mold after a close first half. Johnson County rushed some shots and the private school out of Denver shot the lights out.
“We went 0-for-7 to start the third quarter and they went 6-for-7. All of them were threes. We got down by 19 cut to nine but couldn’t get over the hump. I thought Sean Lewis played outstanding in the game and kept us in it. We could have won because we had our chances. I wasn’t pleased with our effort in the second half.”
Johnson County beat Montrose County 55-36
The lackluster play continued for the first 16 minutes in their second game. The Horns trailed 24-19 at halftime but turned it up in the second half.
Bud Icenhour had five points in the third quarter and did the little things to help his team win. Sean Lewis finished the night with a game high 23 points. Blake Atwood added 15 points and four steals. Icenhour finished with eight points, eight assists and four steals. Troy Arnold had a basket, the only other Longhorn to score.
They won the game 55-36.
“We played a great second half but didn’t show up in the first one,” said Atwood. “We had a little prayer meeting at halftime and got some things straightened out. Bud played remarkable in the second half. He had a big third quarter getting the ball to our scorers with several assists and steals. Nathan did a good job defending their leading scorer and hit the boards well. Sean and Blake did the bulk of our scoring.
Hot shooting Horns hammer Montrose County 90-63
The Longhorns sprang out of the gate like a prize Philly at Churchill Downs. Blake Atwood amassed 18 points in the quarter helping the Horns to a 29-20 lead after one. They continued to shoot the lights out in the second quarter hitting on 63 percent of their shots.
Team effort with lots of contributors
Atwood would finish with 25 first half points but he wasn’t the only one contributing.
Bud Icenhour had three treys in the second quarter that saw them outscore the Bulldogs 26-16 to open up a 55-36 halftime advantage.
Sean Lewis continued to play well with 11 first half points. Jordan Edes-King slashed his way for six points and several key rebounds.
The Longhorns continued to play well getting a big lift from Nathan Arnold in the second half. He scored all nine of his points in the final two quarters and collected 10 rebounds and two steals.
The Longhorns failed in their bid to reach the century mark but closed the tournament on an outstanding note.
Final game totals
Atwood scored a career high 31 points to lead the way. Lewis added 21 points and ended the three-day event with 65 total. Icenhour provided 11 points, five steals and eight assists. Arnold finished with nine points and 10 rebounds and Edes-King had nine points and nine rebounds. Zack Eller came off the bench to score five points. Jimmy Bower collected four points and Troy Arnold gathered two.
Coach Atwood’s comments; final tournament analysis
“We played very well as a team and got everyone involved,” said Atwood. “Blake got us some breakout baskets in the first quarter and ended with 18 but it wasn’t just him. Our guys were getting the ball out quickly and hitting him out in front. We were sharing the basketball and everyone was contributing.”
Atwood felt it was important to end the tournament on a high note.
“We had to find a way to win. It was almost embarrassing the way we played in that first game and the first half of the second one. We finally started putting things together and got some excellent play after that.
Bud became a complete player there. He was getting people involved and has become a great passer. He defended well too and that sparked the whole team. Nathan took some ownership in that post position and rebounded well. He also knocked down some big shots in that last game. Sean had a remarkable tournament and Blake played well. Jordan bounced back and played good that last game and so did our bench. We needed a game like that heading into Friday’s game with Unicoi County.”
Atwood wanted to thank all the sponsors and private donors who made the trip happen. He said it was a trip that he’ll always remember.
“It wouldn’t have been an enjoyable trip with some past teams because seniors would have hung together and our underclassmen would have been split. This group likes to be around one another and all of them are a joy to coach. The all represented Johnson County well there. All they care about is winning. They’re fine with one another as long as we can do that.”
Johnson County 55, Moffitt County 36
JOHNSON CO. (55)
Lewis 23, Atwood 15, Icenhour 8, T. Arnold 2, N. Arnold 0, Edes-King 0, Eller 0
MONTORSE CO. (36)
Shannon 10, Alley 6, James 6, Mott 6, Terrell 3, Jennings 1, Eckerson 2, Satterly 4.
Johnson Co. 9 10 17 17 — 55
Montrose Co. 15 9 7 7 — 36
3-point goals—JC 4 (Lewis 2, Icenhour 2) MC 4 (Ally, Jones, Terrell, Mott)
5th Place Game
Johnson County 90, Moffitt County 63
JOHNSON CO. (90)
Atwood 31, Lewis 21, Icenhour 11, N. Arnold 9, Edes-King 9, Eller 5, Bower 4, T. Arnold 2. Reece 0, Phillips 0
MOFFITT CO. (63)
Cook 15, Brewer 10, Serranton 7, Brennuse 3, Cheron 8, Murphy 7, Reed 8, Najeria 5
Johnson Co. 29 26 16 19 — 90
Moffitt Co. 20 16 17 10 —- 63
3-point goals—JC 11 (Lewis 4, Atwood 3, Icenhour 3, N. Arnold) MC 7 (Cheron 2, Reed 2, Murphy, Cook, Najeria)