By Tim Chambers
Trying to sink a shot in the second half against Cloudland was like trying to win a stuffed animal shooting baskets on a crooked goal at the carnival for the Lady Longhorns.
Johnson County hit only five buckets in the final two quarters and shot a dismal 22 percent from the field that led to their 44-34 non-conference loss against the Lady Highlanders.
The Horns played well defensively which allowed them to stay in the hunt the entire game.
They trailed 19-18 at halftime after falling behind 14-7 at the end of the first quarter. Head coach Leon Tolley summed up the loss.
“Right now our offensive ineptitude is holding us back,” said Tolley. “We had stretches where we played good defense, and then we let a few bad offensive possessions effect us on that end. The bottom line is that one team came here to win and the other one did not. That’s why this loss is extremely disappointing to me. We have to put it in the review mirror because Elizabethton will be here in two days. That’s a big conference game for us.”
Johnson County could muster only three baskets in the first quarter getting one each from Natalie Winters & Taylor Parsons and a three-ball by Sadie Stout. The Horns trailed 14-7 heading in the second quarter but begin to chip away at the deficit.
Cloudland was leading 19-11 before Hazlee Kleine got things started with a nice bank shot in the paint that cut the deficit to six.
The Longhorns got a long three-ball from Taylor Parsons and put back by Emmy Miller late in the quarter that left them trailing 19-18 at the half.
They fell behind by 10 in the third quarter but battled back to pull within four on Parson’s second trey at the buzzer.
Cloudland led 28-24 heading into the fourth.
Tolley’s assessment about his team’s lack of knocking down shots came to a head in the frame.
The Longhorns misfired on seven straight shot attempts, and Cloudland was able to stretch it back at 10.
Johnson County mounted one last surge and got within six at 38-32 with 2:10 remaining on a couple of baskets by Taylor Cox.
The Highlanders got a key three from Jasmine Birchfield and another one from Megan Lunsford that enabled them to hold on for the win.
Parsons led the Longhorns with 10 points and five rebounds. Cox added eight points and three steals. Natalie Winters dished out four assists. Sadie Stout tossed in five points and had five rebounds. Emmy Miller led the rebounding with seven.
Cloudland had three players in double figures led by Lunsford’s 12 points. Stachia Wilson and Trinity Vines provided 11 each.
Cloudland 14 5 9 16 –44
Johnson Co. 7 11 6 10 –34
3-point goals—Cloud 4 (Lunsford 3, Birchfield) JC 3 (Parsons 2 Stout)