By Tim Chambers
The Lady Longhorns were desperate for a second win over Unicoi County this season, and they managed to get it in overtime. It was ugly at times, but the outcome was a thing of beauty when the Horns defeated Unicoi County inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium 52-48, which guarantees them a fourth-place finish in the conference and they avoid the play-in game in the first round of the District tournament.
The Horns got off to a good start when Abby Cornett sank a three-ball that helped them to a 14-12 lead after one.
The game was close the entire way, although Johnson County did squander a couple of leads by not taking care of the basketball along with jacking up quick shots while they had the lead. I appeared as if the Horns would win the game in regulation after Hazlee Kleine sank 2-of-2 free throws to put Johnson County up 47-45 with 6:8 remaining.
The Lady Blue Devils called time out after they were given the ball to inbound under their basket and Ashtan Vance hit a turnaround at the buzzer to tie the game and send it into overtime.
Taylor Parsons hit a free throw to break the tie, and Kleine continued her outstanding play off the bench with a basket to make it 50-47 with 32 seconds remaining.
A runner by Natalie Winters would secure the victory their second of the year over Unicoi County.
Emmy Miller had 9 points and nine rebounds for the Horns. She hit 2-of-2 free throws with 6.8 seconds remaining that put Johnson County in front 47-45 before Vance’s game-tying shot.
Sadie Stout had 11 points to lead the Longhorns. Kleine finished with 8 points, and Cox tossed in 9. Cornett tallied six off the bench.
Caroline Podvin scored 10 points for Unicoi County.
“We needed this win just for seating purposes,” said Tolley. They have three games left to they don’t know where they are going to be, but we do. We need one win now to get in the regional. We had to win this game four or five times, so I’m proud of the way we hung on. The good news is we won this game; the bad news is a better team is coming in here on Tuesday that will be in the state tournament that we must play in Cloudland.”
The Longhorns are now 18-10 overall for the season.