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Lady 'Horns handed defeat by Highlanders

It was a tough night for the Lady Longhorns who faced a harsh defeat at the hands of the Cloudland Lady Highlanders. The Johnson County girls never gave up but consistently lost ground throughout the night, ending in a 23-60 defeat. The game kicked off in the first quarter with a three-pointer from Cloudland and steadily deteriorated from there.
Within the first minute of the game the Lady Highlanders had accumulated seven but were brought back in check as Brionna Reece, and Sarah Swift made three successful shots. With three minutes left in the first quarter Johnson County was only down 6-11, but this proved to be the closest they would come to catching up with Cloudland.
Starting off 9-18 the Lady Longhorns seemed more determined going into the second quarter but had serious problems turning over the ball. A basket from Brandy Dugger bumped the girls up to 11, where they stayed until the last couple of minutes on the clock. Meanwhile Cloudland kept rising, from 18 to 29 by the buzzer. Yet, the fight never left Johnson County and a few well-played maneuvers netted some extra points, again from Sarah Swift and Brionna Reece, resulting in a halftime score of 15-29.
According to Coach Todd Whittemore, “Here’s our dilemma. We gave up tipping at the end of the first quarter; we gave up a bucket at the end of the second quarter, then the third quarter we go into a run and cut it to 13. Then when we brought ‘em in for a timeout and we do nothing but praise them, like ‘Great job, you were really handling the press. We were attacking, being smart, playing well.’ But unfortunately I’m learning something about this team. We’ve had it happen before, but tonight was just so obvious: We don’t handle compliments very well. And we want to compliment them, to build them up, to be positive, but its becoming point blank obvious that every time we compliment them they go right back to doing the stuff that novices do.”
An early foul shot on Sarah Swift made the score 17-30, but again Johnson County just couldn’t get the ball through the net and remained at 17 until the last two minutes of the third quarter when Swift landed another bucket. Brooke Brown made the third and last point gain for the quarter with 40 seconds on the clock, bringing the score to 21-48.
Speaking after the game Swift felt that “we will do a lot better when we learn to handle the pressure and get through the press. I think that’s what hurt us tonight, the turnovers, not everybody going with the ball, making bad passes and bad decisions. The turnovers have been our biggest problem and we keep stepping forward, but then when we do make those two or three steps forward we end up taking four back. We’ve just got to keep working hard in practice and going over stuff and making sure that everyone knows what they’re doing out there.”
Johnson County only picked up two points during the whole last quarter of the game as Brionna Reece made a successful basket with 2 minutes 48 seconds on the clock. However, even at this late stage in the game the girls did not give up, and there were several strong drives to the goal that just would not make it through the net. In the end Cloudland’s strong offense continued to push their numbers ever higher, resulting in a final score of 23-60.
Commenting at the end of the game, Whittemore stated, “We’ve had a little bit of success but we don’t handle it very well. We are young and were growing. First you’ve got to learn how to win and then how to take a compliment. I wouldn’t trade any of our girls for nobody, but this process of trying to teach them how to win, how to play with a winning attitude, how to stay focused and disciplined, it’s not easy, Whittemore continued. “Those wins feel so good because these losses hurt so much. Losing cannot be okay. You will not be a successful person if losing is okay.
“They’ve been working hard physically – now we’ve got to work mentally. We’ve got great girls and you can tell the effort, but to get to the point where we can run a play and handle the pressure, that’s what we have to continue to work toward.”
Following the game with Cloudland the girls are at 2 and 5 for the season so far.
Final Scores
Sarah Swift 13
Brionna Reece 4
Brandy Dugger 4
Brooke Brown 2