By Tim Chambers
A Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang start ended in a Rolls Royce finish for Johnson County on Thursday night in middle school basketball action. The Longhorns outscored Happy Valley 20-9 in the second half to win a hard fought 36-27 decision on their home floor.
It was quite a turnaround for the Longhorns who started slowly. They hit only 2-of-13 shots in the first quarter and committed five turnovers.
Head coach Devin Shaw summed up the win.
“Clay Stanley came off the bench and played his tail off,” said Shaw. “He hit three big shots in the fourth quarter that was the difference. We were able to put Clayton Cross down low against a smaller defender and use his size and that helped. But the difference was defense. We held them to nine points in the second half. We made them make shots instead of giving up layups. Those things were huge in this game. Not one single player gave up.”
The Warriors led 11-7 after one, getting five points from Timmy Mounts and four by Alex Lunceford.
The Longhorns tried to whittle away at the lead in the second quarter but could only carve two points off the deficit. Clayton Cross hit a trifecta and scored six points while Stacy Greer had four offensive rebounds including a putback.
They still trailed by a slim 18-16 margin at the half.
The Warriors continued to lead in the third quarter up until final horn. That’s when they got hit by a giant dagger.
Ryan Morefield banked in a three-ball from 30-feet giving the Longhorns its first lead of the game at 25-24. “Stanley” would help them do things right in the final quarter.
Clay Stanley was nothing but money down the stretch. He scored seven consecutive points to start the fourth, including a long three-ball that extended their lead at 32-24 with 2:57 remaining.
The Warriors got within seven in the final minute, but Ian Norris’s basket in the final seconds would seal the deal for the Horns.
Cross led the Longhorns with 15 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Stanley added 10 points. Greer topped the rebounding with 11. Morefield dished out four assists.
Mounts had 12 points to lead the Warriors.