By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
Johnson County was hoping for a clean sweep in middle school basketball play on Tuesday but instead split the pot against Avery County. The boys found a way to joust the Vikings 39-26 but the girls fell 33-15 in their season openers.
Johnson County 39
Avery County 26
A slow start ended with the middle school Longhorns finishing strong against the out-of-state Vikings.
A pair of baskets by Troy Arnold and Zach Ellers three-ball staked Johnson County to a 7-4 lead after one quarter.
Johnson Countys press caused the Vikings some problems during the second stanza allowing them to build an eight-point advantage. That pleased head coach Lisa Arnold.
Defense has to be your game when youre as small as we are, said Arnold. Weve got to bring that type of defensive intensity every night. Well play offense off our defense for now. Were a fast break team so we want to get down the floor quick and try to score.
They orchestrated her game play to perfection during the second quarter.
Eller collected a pair of baskets off two steals and Weston Throop sank a runner in the paint.
The Longhorns led 16-11 at the half.
Avery County stayed in the game behind the play of Evan King during the third quarter. His five points, including a trifecta got them within two at 18-6.
But a three-ball by Eller and another one out of the corner from Gavin Reece sparked an 8-0 run that extended their advantage to 26-18.
Any thoughts of a Viking comeback were quickly erased in the final period.
Jayden Joiner swished a three followed by a basket on the inside from Arnold.
Ellers half dozen suddenly elevated their lead at 15. Mason Stanley would get in on the scoring by canning a deuce during the closing minutes.
Eller amassed a game high 20 points for Johnson County. Arnold added seven points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Joiner totaled five points. Reece provided three with two each coming from Stanley, and Throop.
King paced the Vikings with 14.
Arnold said it was good to see her team perform well after some sluggish performances in a pair of recent scrimmages.
We knew our kids could play better, added Arnold. So we came out and challenged them. Tonight we played up to our potential. The defense stood out and we rebounded well. Im very proud of them.
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