By Tim Chambers
Johnson County had let a couple of late leads slip away in past games but that wasn’t the case on Tuesday. The Longhorns built a double-digit advantage in the third quarter and never looked back in a 48-37 victory over Sullivan South inside of a rowdy Ray Shoun Gymnasium.
The capacity crowd on homecoming night witnessed a defensive battle in the first half.
The Longhorns used a pair of treys by Sean Lewis and one from Nathan Arnold in the opening frame to help build an 11-7 lead. South would quickly erase that deficit to start the second quarter.
They opened the frame on a 5-0 run including Ryley Hall’s trifecta that allowed them to grab a 12-11 advantage.
Austin Houser provided a pair of buckets that surged the Horns back in front, then Bud Icenhour canned a three-ball that gave them a slim 18-15 cushion.
Both teams went the final three minutes without a field goal. Johnson County led 20-17 at the half.
The Longhorns used a gigantic third quarter that enabled them to build on their lead.
Houser and Jordan Edes got things started with a couple of baskets in the paint. A pair of three’s by Icenhour and an 18-foot jumper from Lewis stretched the margin to an even dozen at 33-21.
They managed to maintain a nine-point advantage heading into the final quarter and Blake Atwood made sure they were able to keep it.
The sophomore point guard bagged a couple of jumpers midway into the period and tossed in three charity tosses that would put it out of reach.
Johnson County led 47-35 with 4:27 remaining and then ran off nearly three minutes by holding the basketball, forcing South to foul.
Arnold’s length-of-the court inbounds pass to Atwood for a layup in the final minute would seal Johnson County’s first conference win of the season.
Atwood paced a well-balanced scoring attack with 11 points and five assists. Lewis added 10 points and Icenhour provided nine. Houser chipped in eight points and eight rebounds.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.