The Longhorns got off to a rough start in Happy Valley last week, but managed to pull together in the second half to come away with a second big win against the Warriors this season. With their full roster back in play, both Chase Kleine and Chase Phillips made a strong effort to stay in the mix as players like Dalton Timbs, Brian Dempsey, and J.R. Speed demonstrated just how much they have improved over the past few weeks.
Coming out in the first quarter, Johnson County was able to get the early lead, but a series of bad shots and costly mistakes kept the score low for both sides. Ryan Mahala was first to get on the board with a quick foul against the Warriors, but the next four minutes went without either side making much of an advancement. Brian Dempsey was finally able to break the ice with a shot that bumped the Longhorns up to five, and with a couple of follow up buckets from Chase Phillips, Johnson County was looking at a four-point lead near the end of the period.
The second quarter did not go as smoothly as the first for The Longhorns, and within the first few seconds of game play Happy Valley was able to close the gap and tie at 11. With fouls dominating, the two teams leapfrogged for the next four minutes, tying up at 13, 15, and 17. Dempsey was able to put up a couple of critical free throws in the last two minutes before the half, allowing his team to end the period once again in the lead 26-24.
While things got off to a rough start, Coach Austin Atwood was quick to point out a huge turnaround for the Longhorns in the second half. Well, first thing I just thought we played a little harder, said Atwood. I thought we rebounded much better in the second half and executed a little better. I thought Dempsey and Dalton Timbs both came out in the second half with a different mentality. Dalton getting that thing to the rim two or three times instead of relying on shooting the three, that was huge. We drew help one time, shot and missed, but then Dempsey got the rebound and it ended up a three-point play. Weve got to win the rebounding war night in and night out.
Happy Valley was able to stake their claim on the first handful of possessions in the third quarter, but before long Johnson County was back in control, going on a run that eventually put eight points between them and their opponents. Ryan Mahala was instrumental on making foul shots, while Brian Dempsey, Dalton Timbs, and Chase Phillips were able to land repeat buckets both from the outside and at the post position. Fighting back the whole way, the Warriors were eventually able to cut it to four in the last seconds of the period, even landing an amazingly long-range bucket right at the buzzer. Thankfully for Johnson County the refs decided that the shot was no good, insisting that it was made after the buzzer began sounding despite the fact that it came all the way from the three-point line on the opposite end of the gym.
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