By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
Toughness and endurance were tested in Johnson Countys game with Unaka on Saturday and the Longhorns passed by the skin of their teeth. They hobbled their way to a 61-57 victory in their second of two games played that day.
They had taken Elizabethton to the wire before falling 54-50 in their first game and this one was pretty much a carbon copy. But gone was the bounce in their step that was evident against the Cyclones. Still they found a way to gut out a victory.
It was the kind of game that I was hoping for because it was good for us, said Atwood. Its the first time that Ive ever played two games this late in the season but it will come back to help us. We were dead tired and I expected it. Im glad Unaka played us close because we had to make plays down the stretch to win. Brandon Vannoy made a big play at the end of a missed free throw and I know he was killed. I thought (Colton) Chambers played a great game for them. Hes long, lean and smart and hes a very good player. This definitely was a gut-check game. Im proud of our kids for finding a way to win.
Unaka used a trio of treys by freshman John Boy Ramsey to go up 14-11 after one. Jose Guzman and Cody Bailie had four points each for Johnson County and Caleb Throop swished a rare three but they still trailed. And that would continue until the third quarter.
The Rangers led 25-23 at the break but the halftime rest would do wonders for the Longhorns.
Nathan Arnold provided some much needed spark by swishing a pair of treys in the third stanza. Each time they erased a deficit and put Johnson County back in the lead. His last one made it 44-40 with 33 seconds remaining in the period.
Chambers hit a deuce in the final seconds but the Horns still led 44-42 after three.
Johnson County appeared to be in control after baskets by Vannoy and Throop made it 48-42 but that margin would shrink because of Chambers play.
He scored 10 points in the quarter including one basket that got Unaka within one at 56-55 with 36 seconds remaining.
Guzman hit a pair of free throws that made it 58-55 and the Horns got the ball back after a missed shot, forcing Unaka to foul. Thats when the play of the game took place.
Arnold hit the first of two free throws but missed his second. Vannoy followed up the miss with a putback, allowing Johnson County to depart Ray Shoun Gym with a victory.
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