By Tim Chambers
Three Longhorns were sent out in style on senior night inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium. Austin Houser, Daniel Cunningham and Joe Lawson played a big role in their 79-39 win over Unaka on Monday.
The trio took advantage of their complimentary start by providing some quality minutes and a combined 27 points.
Houser led the team in scoring with 16 points and grabbed five rebounds. Cunningham added six points and seven rebounds. Lawson rang up five points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists.
Head coach Austin Atwood was all smiles after the game.
“These three guys have been a huge part of this program,” said Atwood. “They have attended every practice and they go all out every day. Tonight they stepped up and played their hearts out. Houser had one of his better games while Daniel and Joe made things happen while out on the floor.”
They definitely made things happen and so did the other starters when they entered for the first time.
Blake Atwood scored 11 points in the opening frame by hitting 4-of-5 from the field including two treys.
Unaka was leading 7-6 when Nathan Arnold stepped up to knock down a go-ahead trey.
Johnson County closed the period on a 15-0 run capped off by Atwood’s three-ball. The Horns led 21-7 after one.
The Horns stayed hot in the second quarter getting great production by several different players. They amassed a total of 30 points and led 51-17 at the half.
Bud Icenhour swished two long-range treys in the second quarter that continued the run. Jordan Edes scored 10 first-half points. Zack Eller had a couple of strong moves that led to his four points. Arnold provided another trey to aid the four points scored by Atwood and Snyder.
The Horns led 51-17 at the half.
The seniors got in on the act in the third quarter with Houser leading the way. He finished the half with 10 points and scored 17 for the game. One was a slam dunk that brought the crowd to its feet. Cunningham had four points in the third and another basket in the fourth. Lawson rang up a three-ball in the fourth quarter after hitting a deuce in the third.
Tyler Lewis scored a game high 24 points while the rest of his team combined for only 15.
Atwood completed his short stint with 15 points. He hit 5-of-6 shots from the field. Edes added 10 points and seven boards. Icenhour sank three treys for nine points. Arnold, Cunningham and Snyder scored six apiece before sitting nearly the entire second half.
“We’ve been playing pretty well for the past four or five games,” said Atwood. “We need to be at our best on Friday. I want Houser, Cunningham and Lawson to enjoy this win tonight. We’ll come back in tomorrow and begin working on a game plan for Unicoi County.
Johnson County 26
The Lady Longhorns didn’t fare as well on senior night for Michala Cretsinger and Lexi Forrester. Johnson County held a 7-5 lead with 2:21 remaining in the first when the Horns decided to sub in some fresh players.
It backfired because Unaka went on a 15-0 run before Cretsinger could stop it with a deuce.
The Rangers held a comfortable lead the entire way.
Myah Parlier led the way with 16 points. Erica Potter had a strong game with 10 points.
Courtney Brooks led the Longhorns with nine points. Cretsinger added six points and three assists. Brittany Brooks and Taylor Parsons collected 10 rebounds each to pace Johnson County.
Parlier collected a game high 14 for Unaka.
The girls will play in the District Tournament on Thursday at Unicoi County. They face Happy Valley at 6:30 in an elimination first-round game.