By Tim Chambers
Cloudland rebounded from a 41-36 loss to Johnson County back on December 9, in the Hall of Fame Classic to win 61-59 on Tuesday night inside of a very loud and vocal Sonny Smith Gymnasium thanks to their total domination on the backboards in the fourth quarter that resulted in several second and third chance points for the Highlanders. They out-rebounded the Horns 12-6, including nine on the offensive side that proved to be the difference down the stretch according to head coach Austin Atwood.
They hit a couple of threes off of rebounds they got on missed shots because we didn’t do an excellent job of boxing them out at the end,” said Atwood. “Coach Garry Harrison did a good job of getting his kids ready to play tonight. Had we got on the board, in the end, we would not have lost the game.
Atwood was correct on his assessment.
Trifectas by Hunter Shell and Blair proved to be daggers that allowed the Highlanders to move in front by five after trailing pretty much the whole way.
Johnson County has several of its starters get into foul trouble down the stretch, which proved to be critical during the stretch run. The always tough at home Highlanders where they seldom loose shot 60 percent from the field in the final quarter that attributed to their win.
Michael Oxentine led the Longhorns with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Lucas Phillips added 21 points, ten rebounds, and eight assists. Ethan Bower tallied
11 points in the loss, including 5-of-5 from the charity stripe. The Highlanders were sparked by the return of starting point guard Conner Birchfield who contributed six assists and collected four steals all in the final quarter. The Longhorns will return to the hardwood on Wednesday night against David Crockett inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium.