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Longhorn girls beat Patrick Henry, Mitchell County

After an up and down showing that resulted in a one and one record their first night of the Hall of Champions tournament at home last week, the Lady Longhorns were able to bounce back in the final two rounds later in the week against Mitchell County North Carolina and Patrick Henry from Virginia. Despite the fact that both teams have a strong reputation in their home conferences, Johnson County’s girls proved to be more than a challenge for either program.
“We beat Mitchell County by 22 and Patrick Henry by 20,” said Head Coach Todd Whittemore. “Patrick Henry was in the state finals last year and they had the MVP of the state tournament playing for them again. All five starters were contributing and even off the bench we had Michala Cretsinger with eight of her own. We were two points away on two players from having all of our best seven in double digits.”
Patrick Henry was the first match up of the evening, with Johnson County getting off to a huge start that resulted in a 17-8 lead by the end of the first quarter. Those few initial drives, led by seniors Brooke Brown and Brionna Reece helped put the Lady Longhorns far enough ahead that even as Patrick Henry began to close the gap toward the half, it was already too late. Johnson County came into the third in control 34-23 and started into the fourth even better at 50-30. The game stabilized in the last eight minutes, with Patrick Henry keeping pace down by 20 points to finish up 65-45.
With the momentum of that victory behind them the Lady Longhorns easily dominated the court over Mitchell County in the second game, leading an amazing 21-8 by the beginning of the second. Once again Johnson County’s opponent tried to regain some footing just before half time, cutting the lead to 11, but with players like Kourtney Tolley, Mary Taylor and Amanda Potter doing a good job defending, Mitchell County was only able to land four baskets in the whole third quarter. Coming into the fourth ahead 52-29, it was a relatively simple task for the Lady Longhorns to pull out a second big win 60-38 with the whole team contributing.
When asked what made the difference between the team’s first night in the tournament where they were handed a sound defeat at the hands of the South Greene Lady Rebels and their amazing performance in the second round, Coach Whittemore explained that it had a lot to do with handling the offense.
“We didn’t get pressured,” Whittemore said. “We didn’t get pressed. We attacked. We’re great at going fast after we get a rebound and steal. South Greene exploited us because they were a small team and very fast. We just struggle with pressure and it’s not one person, but everybody. You can’t go on the Internet and find some problem solver for a press game. But, I’ve been coaching 20 years and the stuff we’re doing now works.”

Final Scores
Johnson County 65
Patrick Henry 45
Brionna Reece 15
Brooke Brown 13
Kourtney Tolley 12
Amanda Potter 8
Michala Cretsinger 8
Mary Taylor 6
Gianna Lay 3
Johnson County 60
Mitchell County 38
Brionna Reece 19
Brooke Brown 17
Kourtney Tolley 9
Mary Taylor 8
Michala Cretsinger 3
Gianna Lay 2
Amanda Potter 2