By Tim Chambers
It’s been a hard lock to pick, but Lady Longhorns’ head coach Leon Tolley appears to have found the right combination for success. His squad played possibly their best game of the year by knocking off Happy Valley 59-42 on Friday night inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium.
Tolley was extremely pleased with how his team bounced back from a hard fought three-point loss at Sullivan Central. He touched on their performance over the 32-minute span.
“This is two games in a row that we’ve taken our practice preparation and put it to use in the game,” said Tolley. “We prepared for them and the girls did a great job of applying what they learned. We got off to a good start but it could have been better. We made a couple of quick ones then got a little nervous. But they didn’t buckle when Happy Valley turned up the heat.”
Johnson County’s first two offensive possessions set the tone for the game.
Natalie Winters made a beautiful pass to Adrian Hall for a layup, then got loose on the baseline for a basket and a 4-0 lead.
They got another boost from the play of Sadie Stout off the bench. The freshman guard entered the game early and proceeded to score seven points in the quarter. Her 3-ball broke a 6-6 tie and gave them the lead for good at 9-6. Happy Valley never led in the game.
They got close at 11-10 but Johnson County closed the period with baskets by Abby Cornett and Stout.
The Longhorns led 15-10 after one.
Things got even better for the Lady Longhorns in the second stanza.
Taylor Parsons opened the quarter with a basket followed by a long three by Cornett. They stretched the lead to 24-13 on a nice feed by Courtney Brooks to Hazlee Kleine for a deuce with 3:45 remaining in the half.
The Warriors got it back to eight a couple of times but the Horns cashed in on baskets by Taylor Cox, Stout and Emmy Miller. Johnson County held a 30-18 halftime advantage.
Any hopes of a Warrior comeback were quickly erased early in the third quarter.
Stout stretched the Horns’ lead to 15 by connecting on a three and Parsons followed with a foul line jumper. The lead finally reached 20 after Parsons, Miller and Cox connected for a deuce each.
They were comfortably in front 46-28 heading into the fourth quarter.
Happy Valley tried to up the pressure but instead got hit with the dagger. Hall drained a long trey that gave them a 22-point cushion. Both teams substituted freely in the final two minutes.
The Longhorns displayed a well-balanced scoring attack led by Stout’s 12 points. Parsons and Miller added 11 points and eight rebounds apiece. Cornet provided seven points while Hall and Cox collected five each.
Johnson County 59, Happy Valley 42
HAPPY VALLEY (42)
Henegar 18, Roberts 12, Long 4, Green 4, Absher 2, Campbell 2
JOHNSON CO. (59)
Stout 12, Parsons 11, Miller 11, Cornett 7, Hall 5, Cox 5, C. Brooks 4, Winters 2, Kleine 2
H.V. 10 8 10 14 — 42
J.C. 15 15 16 13 — 59
3-point goals—JC 4 (Stout 2, Hall 1, Cornett) HV 5 (Henegar 3, Roberts 2)