By Tim Chambers
ELIZABETHTON—It was a struggle from start to finish for the Longhorns who finally found a way to dispose of Happy Valley. The Longhorns broke open the game in the third quarter and cruised to a 51-42 win on Tuesday night inside of Charlie Bayless Gymnasium.
The Lady Longhorns gave a lackluster performance and were bombarded by the Warriors 61-36.
Johnson County 51,
Happy Valley 42
The Longhorns never could solve the pesky Warriors because they stayed in foul trouble for the entire game.
The Horns got eight points from Blake Atwood and four more by Troy Arnold to nab a 12-9 lead after one.
“We struggled shooting and stayed in foul trouble,” said Longhorns’ head coach Austin Atwood. “I thought the effort was there and we played hard. I’m just glad to get out of here with a win.”
Happy Valley continued to hang tough in the second quarter thanks to nine points by Blake Young and seven more from 6’8 center Bryce Carter.
Atwood had seven points in the quarter that helped them build a 23-16 lead but had to leave the game after picking up his third foul. Happy Valley took advantage of his absence.
Young’s three-ball and buzzer-beating deuce left the Warriors trailing 27-25 at the half. But the Horns would regroup to start the third.
Zach Eller gave them a massive lift with five quick points including a trey that pushed their lead up to seven. Atwood’s three-point play and two free throws by Gavin Reece allowed the Horns to lead 41-30 heading into the fourth after holding Happy Valley to five points in the period.
Atwood got hit with a couple of cheap fouls in the second half that limited his time on the court. He fouled out with 1:57 remaining after sitting the first four minutes of the fourth period.
Eller, Gavin Reece, Michael Oxentine and Clayton Cross hit key free throws down the stretch to preserve the win for the Longhorns.
All 10 of Johnson County’s fourth-quarter points came from the charity stripe.
Atwood finished with a game-high 22 points for the Longhorns. Eller contributed seven points. Reece, Arnold, and Oxentine provided six each.
Noah Stevens led the Warriors with 20 points, while Carter added ten with eight rebounds. Young cashed in with nine.
Happy Valley 61
Johnson County 36
Adrienne Henegar fired in 23 points as the Lady Longhorns took two steps backward in this one. The senior guard hit four treys as the Warriors jumped on top 17-4 and never looked back.
Freshman Autumn Henegar added 10 points one of four Lady Warriors in double figures. Shayln Whitson hit for a dozen while Tianna Long tallied 11.
The Lady Horns trailed 28-9 at halftime but finally found some offense to start the third.
Taylor Cox and Taylor Parsons hit back-to-back treys, and Sadie Stout knocked down five straight points that got them within 11 at 35-24.
The Lady Warriors would outscore the Horns 26-11 over the final 12 minutes to win the game going away.
Cox led the Longhorns with 15 points while Parsons and Stout added seven apiece. Emmy Miller led the rebounding with eight.
Johnson County head coach Leon Tolley summed up his team’s play.
“We’re consistently inconsistent,” said Tolley. “I’m disappointed with what I saw out there tonight. It was hard to watch.”
Johnson Co. 12 15 14 10 -51
Happy Valley 9 15 5 12 -42
3-point goals—JC 1 (Atwood) HV 2 (Stevens, Young)
Johnson Co. 9 5 15 12 -36
Happy Valley 17 11 12 21 -61
3-point goals—JC 2 (Cox, Parsons) HV 8 (Ad. Henegar 4, Au. Henegar 3, Long)