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Lady 'Horns defeat Tri-Cities Christian

The Lady Longhorns put up a fierce fight that led to a narrow home game victory against the Tri-Cities Christian Lady Eagles. The tension was high in a round that was anyone’s game down to the last second. The excitement from the JCHS fans was nearly tangible as the girls barely managed to hold onto a one point lead until eventually getting a timely foul shot from Brandy Dugger that left the final score 41-39. Coach Todd Whittemore seemed relieved with the outcome. “We could have lost it about five different ways, but the good thing for us is that we found a way to win. For our girls to keep their heads up, keep plucking away, to not let one possession ruin their whole night, I was very proud of them. The crowd tonight was like a sixth man for us. I definitely think that they sparked our girls to play better. They just feed off of it. “
It was a hard night from the beginning for the Lady Longhorns, who seemed to always be just barely ahead of the girls from Tri-Cities. The first quarter kicked off with a basket from Brionna Reece that was followed up quickly by a gain from the Lady Eagles. Johnson County eventually pulled ahead gaining 12 points to Tri-Cities Christian’s 9, but despite the lead, the Lady Longhorns had very little breathing room. The situation was much the same through the second quarter with the score evening out at several points. With less than two minutes from the half, JCHS made a few key gains that brought them from a 14-14 standstill to a 27-21 lead.
Following some initial success at the beginning of the third, the game became an outright battle, as the Lady Longhorns struggle against an equally determined Tri-Cities Christian. Losing ground throughout the quarter the game tied up again at 33-33, and with only seconds left on the clock a lucky basket by Brandy Dugger started the fourth off 35-33. Making the game even more tough was Whittemore’s need to keep mainly the starting line in throughout the whole game. “We played six people the whole night and they really played their butts off. They also played their butts off in practice and that’s why there are six out there. There’s a difference between those six and the rest, and when the rest catch up then we’ll play more, but right now we are trying to win. We are trying to put the best team on the floor, the hardest workers. Even though our bench may not have been in the game, they were in there verbally and mentally. “
The real nail-biter came in the last minutes of the game. At two minutes 23 seconds the score was 38-37, but from that point on every time that Johnson County managed a basket or a foul shot, the Lady Eagles managed to make one of their own, and for every foul shot that the Lady Eagles took the crowd exploded with anticipation. The real turning point came with only 29 seconds left on the clock. Johnson County, ahead by one point and in possession of the ball, fell victim to an intercepted pass. With breath held the crowd waited to see if Tri-Cities would make a game winning shot. Yet, luck seemed to be with the home team and a miss followed by a well-timed foul on the Eagles left Brandy Dugger to get the last point of the game.
“We got very lucky. It’s very fortunate about this win. I’ll take this any day of the week, but we have a bunch of work to do. We practiced for three hours before this game, and we used every minute of it. I was very pleased. We hadn’t played at home yet and I wanted our girls to show our fans the proof that we have gotten better. I think they have. It wasn’t an easy win. They were playing their guts out. They played their butts off,” commented Whittemore following the close victory. “This is why you like coaching. This is exciting. They are a young team and they are getting better. We are trying to implement things where we can have more people scoring double digits. I thought we shared the ball a lot better. We looked like more of a team. We weren’t just the Brooke Brown show. Everybody we played scored. It’s a good step in the right direction. The most important thing for me is that the fans out there can see that, hey these girls are getting better. We’ve just got to keep working.”
Brooke Brown 17
Brandy Dugger 9
Brionna Reece 6
Chelsea McCullouch 3
Nikki Farrow 2