By Tim Chambers
A Duncan Yo-Yo couldn’t have had as many ups and downs at the Johnson County, and Hampton girls’ game did on Tuesday night inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium. Natalie Winters broke a 45-45 tie with 32 seconds remaining by converting on a nice drive to the hoop and Taylor Cox added two clutch free throws in the final seconds allowing the Horns to escape with a 49-47 win.
It didn’t come easy for Johnson County who needed a pair of blocked shots by Taylor Parsons and Emmy Miller at the end to keep Hampton from possibly tying the score.
Head coach Leon Tolley touched on his squad’s play.
“I would rather win ugly than lose pretty, but the big picture for us is we’re not playing against Hampton we’re playing against ourselves,” he said. “The team in maroon beat us last time out at Mitchell County and the team in a while almost beat us tonight. We’ve got to eliminate our mistakes. We’ll do two good things then one bad thing then one good thing and two bad things. We’re our own worst enemy at times. Our girls could have folded when Hampton took the lead their late and the fans were going wild, but we didn’t. I thought they deserved to win because they played a whole lot better than we did. I’m proud that our kids found a way for us to pull out a win somehow.”
The Longhorns appeared to have the game well in hand after Sadie Stout’s jumper put them up 40-33 with 5:37 remaining but that was not the case.
The Lady Bulldogs went on a 9-0 run capped off by back-to-back treys from Brooke Hughes and Stephanie Campbell.
Johnson County quickly erased the one-point deficit on two free throws by Cox and another one from Winters.
Hughes tied the game at 45 all with a free throw setting the stage for the final 58 seconds.
Both teams had trouble scoring points in the first quarter with Johnson County holding a slim 6-4 advantage. The Horns managed to maintain a 20-14 lead at the half with the help of Cox who scored 10 second-quarter points and had 12 at intermission.
The Longhorns got a huge lift off the bench from Abby Cornett who tallied five points in the third frame. Taylor Parsons had two buckets including one that gave the Horns a 38-29 advantage.
Hampton outscored the Horns 16-11 in the final period but came up two points short.
Cox blistered the nets for game-high 22 points and added five rebounds to lead the Longhorns. Winters added nine points, five rebounds, and three steals. She touched on her late basket that proved to be the dagger.
“I had some different options on the play,” said Winters. “I knew we had to score, so I drove the ball when I saw the opening. Coach Tolley was encouraging me to take the shot, and I’m so glad it went in. This was a good win for us. We didn’t want to go into our Christmas break practices had we gave the game to them there at the end.”
Parsons tallied six points, seven rebounds and blocked three shots. Miller collected six rebounds. Stout had a big night with eight rebounds and six assists. Cornett came off the bench to tally six points.
Campbell led the Bulldogs with 21 points. Townsend added eight points, and Hughes totaled six points, four assists, and four steals.
Hampton 4 10 17 16 –47
JCHS 6 14 18 11 –49
3-point goals—Hamp. 4 (Campbell 3, Hughes) JC 3 (Cox 2, Cornett)
Campbell 21, Townsend 8, Hughes 6, Camillo 3, Brumitt 5, Orr 2, Carden 2, Guinn 0.
JOHNSON Co. (49)
Cox 22, Winters 9, Parsons 6, Miller 2, Stout 4, Cornett 6, Kleine 0.