By Tim Chambers
KINGSPORT— Johnson County entered the boys’ TMSAA East Tennessee Area 1 AAA tournament as the small fry among seven teams. They are now in the semi-finals after Saturday’s “super-sized” performance.
The Longhorns defeated Rogersville 52-42 at John Sevier Middle School despite their leading scorer fouling out to start the fourth quarter. JCMS’ head coach Devin Shaw was relieved that his team held on for the victory.
“We challenged them during the timeout that I took when it happened,” said Shaw. “They had to all step up with Clayton out. Ian Norris played a great game and so did Ryan Morefield, Stacy Greer and Clay Stanley. This win was a total team effort. We’re glad to be playing in the semifinals. It speaks volumes about these kids.”
The Longhorns came out blazing in the first quarter.
Clayton Cross and Ian Norris scored a pair of baskets each and Stacy Greer added a putback to put the Horns in front 11-6. Clay Stanley and Ethan Bower added baskets that increased their advantage to double-digits.
The managed to build a 20-8 cushion after one but foul trouble plagued them in the second quarter.
Cross picked up his third foul after hitting three free throws and Greer departed just after gathering his fourth offensive rebound. Ryan Morefield took up the slack with three points and four rebounds in their absence.
The Longhorns led 29-23 at the half.
Rogersville managed to stay in the game behind the play of Breydan Gilliam. He had 14 first half points and finished with 29 for the game.
But the Longhorns had a more balanced attack that would prove to be the difference.
Morefield Norris, Stanley and Cross scored deuces during the third quarter that helped them maintain their six-point advantage heading into the fourth.
That’s when the confusion began.
Cross was whistled with his fourth foul to start the frame. Shaw was unable to get him out of the game before the ball was inbounded.
Gilliam was fouled on the possession while driving toward the basket. Unfortunately the foul was signaled on Cross who was nowhere near the infraction. Shaw realized a mistake had been made but encouraged his team to press on and keep a cool head.
For the rest of the story pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.