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Longhorns back on track after pulling upset over HV

Cody Brown came to play on Friday night and the Happy Valley Warriors had no answer for him.
Brown finished with 23 points and found open men in the post as the Longhorns rallied back from a seven-point halftime deficit to win 64-59 over HV at Bayless Gym.
Jason Steele added 17, but Austin Humphrey also came up big with a nine-point performance to go along with double digit rebounds.
The three seniors are the only three left and they truly made a statement on Friday night.
Brown totally took over the game in the second half as JCHS quickly erased the Warriors’ halftime edge.
However, it was Humphrey and Steele’s performance on the glass that really kept the Warriors at bay.
“If we don’t rebound we don’t have a chance to win and our kids realize that now,” JCHS head coach Austin Atwood said. “When we rebound well we have a chance to win.”
The Longhorns also had a great night from the free-throw line as well and that propelled JCHS to the win.
It was a rough week for the Longhorns following the loss to Hampton, but the ‘Horns have started fresh and seem to be having fun again.
“This win was big,” Atwood said. “It was big for our kids and big for our program. When you surround yourselves with good kids you’re going to give yourself a chance to win.”
The Longhorns were also able to get Matt Stanley in foul trouble and that helped with the big run down the stretch.
After the game was tied at 47-47, the Longhorns went on a 14-6 run to pretty much ice things.
“We played six players and stamina was big so we played more zone,” Atwood said. “We had no foul trouble and the free-throws down the stretch by Cody Brown and Dusty Stout were huge. Both of them stepped up on the line and showed great composure and knocked those down.”
Brown is a senior guard who really struggled at the first of the year after a year off, but Friday night his full potential that people saw in middle school and as a freshman really came out in the open.
“This was the game of my life,” he said. “I just tried to come out and do what I needed to do to help the team. I got my chances and tonight I took them.”
The Warriors were also celebrating Senior Night and JCHS was able to spoil the party in the second half.
“It’s hard to do that and they came in ready,” Brown said. “It’s hard to do that, but we did a pretty good job.”
Brown admitted that this was a long week following the dismissal of two players, but that the team moved on.
“All that trouble that started after the Hampton game in a way helped our team because we’ve settled down and figured out our roles now,” he said. “Coach Atwood has done a good job of bringing us together as a team and we’re just jelling together. Everybody is smiling and laughing, but we’re also more serious.”
For Humphrey, this was the best moment of his basketball career as well as he dominated on the boards and didn’t allow Happy Valley to get second chances.
Against a team like the Warriors, you don’t want to give them any open opportunities, but JCHS and Humphrey did a great job of not allowing that.
“Those boards were crucial,” Humphrey said. “You can’t give Happy Valley two shots or they’re going to hit it. We were definitely ready to play. The 10-2 run by Happy Valley at the half hurt us, but we got it back.”
JCHS also avenged a 14-point loss to the Warriors earlier in the year.
“We lost two seniors and it hurts, but we have to get through it and we’re working on it,” Humphrey said.
The Longhorns look like they’re going to be the No. 6 seed going into the District Tournament, but they also look like a group you don’t want to play.
“We’re coming in as an underdog, but we’re hoping for the best,” Humphrey said.
JCHS Scoring: Cody Brown 23, Jason Steele 17, Chase Kleine 2, Dusty Stout 8, Quinton Wright 2, Austin Humphrey 9.
Upcoming Games:
2-10: Tri-Cities Christian (Senior Night)
2-11: at Unicoi County
2-14 at Unaka
2-17 District Tournament starts at Sullivan North