By Tim Chambers
DAMASCUS, VA — The short trip from Damascus, Virginia through Laurel Bloomery into Mountain City was a sweet one for Johnson County on Thursday. The Lady Longhorns rallied from a 31-24 halftime deficit and won 53-50 over neighboring Holston. They had defeated the Lady Cavs 63-48 in their previous meeting.
It was their 11th win of the season with seven coming against schools from Virginia. And unlike last time, this win would not come easy.
“We did what we needed to do in the second half,” said JCHS’ head coach Thomas Wampler. “It wasn’t our best performance, but we pulled out a good win over a rival school.”
Johnson County trailed 16-9 after one and it could have been a lot more had it not been for the play of Courtney Brooks. She scored all nine points including a trey and 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
It was almost the same type of event in the second quarter, only this time the leading cast was different. Michala Cretsinger tallied 10 points including two treys that allowed Johnson County to remain in the hunt.
They trailed 31-34 at the break, but all that would change during the third quarter.
A pair of baskets by Destiny Cole and one each from Taylor Parsons, Abby Cornett and Bella Miller would factor heavily in Johnson County outscoring the Lady Cavaliers 13-7. They trailed by a slim 38-37 margin going into the final quarter.
The game was nip and tuck in the final period with neither team able to pull away. Holston rode a well-balanced scoring attack from multiple players while the Horns hung their hats on Brittney Brooks and Cretsinger.
Brooks had five points in the period including a three. Kaitlin Nichols stepped up by hitting four key free throws in the frame. None was bigger than Cretsinger who ended the quarter with six points including a key trey that ended up being the game winner.
“They were a much better team at their place than when we played them the first time,” said Cretsinger. “This is a game that we never want to lose. We know some of them so you always want to do well against schools close to you. We didn’t play well but we still got the win.”
Cretsinger scored a game high 20 points to lead the Longhorns. Courtney Brooks added 11 points. Parsons had a big night collecting 11 rebounds. Brittney Brooks provided seven points and six boards.
Brianna Vannoy, Santanna Amburgey and Madison Garrett scored 10 points apiece for Holston.
Johnson County 42
Taylor Cox fired in 17 points and Adrian Hall added nine leading Johnson County to a sweep in the junior varsity contest. Natalie Winters finished the night with eight points as did Chloe Arnold.
Manuel had seven for Holston.