By Tim Chambers
The Lady Longhorns were on a mission against Mountain Mission School from Grundy, Virginia, Saturday inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium.
Behind a remarkable first high performance, they were able to defeat the very athletic Mountain Mission’s squad 73-52 to run their season record to 2-0.
The Longhorns led 54-31 at halftime, and much of that was due to their shot selection with a blistering 55 percent from the field (16-for-29) but played another ugly second half, which didn’t sit too well with head coach Leon Tolley.
“I told our kids that this was a great opportunity to play against a team that had tremendous athleticism because that is what you’re going to see if you get down the road,” said Tolley. “We did a good job of sharing the ball in the first half and got a good cushion. In the second half, we went back to our old ways, and the ball got stuck. We didn’t compete too well on the defensive end because we had to score 73 points to win, and that’s not the way we play. I told our kids that there are two ends of the floor, and you’ve got to play on both of them. Right now, we’ve got some that just want to play on one end, and wins are going to be few and far between if that continues. The fact is we didn’t share the ball in the second half, and we didn’t guard the ball either. That’s got to change.”
Tolley was spot on in his analysis.
Six different players scored in the first quarter for Johnson County that allowed them to surge in front 21-16. That trend continued in the second period.
Taylor Parsons got hot and began to light it up on the outside. She had nine points in the quarter, including a trey. Taylor Cox matched her output with nine points and a pair of steals that resulted in baskets for the Horns.
Miller had six points, and seven rebounds at halftime and Sadie Stout was just as effective. After knocking down two treys in the first quarter, she added five more points in the second quarter to give her 11 at half. Abby Cornett came off the bench to score five points, including a trey, but the play of point guard Natalie Winters was the key.
She quarterbacked the team by amassing seven assists in the first 16 minutes and added four points and three steals.
All this allowed the Lady Longhorns to build a 23 point halftime lead at 54-31, but the swagger wasn’t there in the second half. They scored 33 points in the second quarter, which were 14 more than they tallied in the final two.
Mountain Mission outhustled the Horns to come with loose balls and was
able to prevent the Horns from making it a massacre.
At one point, they cut it to 58-41, but four points each by Stout and Cox would extend the lead back to 66-44, allowing Tolley to empty the bench.
Cox led the Longhorns in scoring with a game-high 22 points. Parsons added a double-double, 15 points and ten rebounds her second consecutive one. Stout also had 15 points in addition to five rebounds and three steals. Miller contributed ten rebounds and eight points. Winters finished the game with eight assists with seven coming during the first 16 minutes. Hazlee Kleine came off the bench to collect six rebounds. Cornett had five points and three steals.
Cons Mbiya topped Mountain Mission with 12 points. LydIa Niause and Meklit Bekale added nine points each.
The Longhorns 2-0 will take part in the Hardees Classic at David Crockett this week. They were scheduled to take on state powerhouse Meigs County in their first game.
Mtn. Mission 16 15 11 10 –52
Johnson Co. 21 33 9 10 –73
MTN. MISSION (52)
Mbiya 12, Niause 9, Beakle 9, J. Chacha 7, A. Chacha 6, Fekre 4, S. Chacha 3, M. Chacha 2
JOHNSON CO. (73)
Cox 22, Parsons 15, Stout 15, Miller 8, Winters 4, Cornett 5, Kleine 4, Icenhour 0, Brooks 0, Lipford 0
3-point goals: JC 3 (Stout 2, Cox 1) MM 4 (Niause 3, Beakle 1)