The Johnson County Longhorns were handed their toughest defeat this season in a runaway home game against the visiting Elizabethton Cyclones. Unable to knock down a solid bucket until late in the first quarter, Johnson County was left reeling as their opponents flew past them to a very early nine-point lead.
It was bad from the get go, said head Coach Austin Atwood following the game. There arent many nights that a team can come in here and just out play us, but that happened tonight. We need to see a little more toughness. Some nights were really good at it and sometimes it goes like tonight. The biggest factor early was us missing those shots. Were a different team if we could have scored with them right there early. The first two possessions we got two over the back calls, which is what we talked about. We had to block them out and keep them and we did a good job at that but we didnt convert. Dalton Timbs three goes in and out, Chris Poteets two is in and out, and Elizabethton went down and got some big buckets. I think that addled our kids a little bit because we had been defending really well.
Even getting Chase Phillips back after a seven game absence didnt seem to give the Longhorns the edge they needed and with the Cyclones knocking down three pointers throughout the night, there was little Johnson County could do but struggle on. The first quarter ended with just four Longhorn buckets, the first coming midway through the period thanks to Ryan Mahala and the second with just seconds on the clock by Chris Poteet. Meanwhile, Elizabethton had racked up an impressive 26 point run in the first eight minutes alone.
Thats a different animal over there, said Coach Atwood. Thats a senior loaded team and, hey, theyre good, theyre very good. I have to give a lot of credit to Coach Lucas Honeycutt. I know its his first year but thats a good team to start with and hes doing a good job with them. Theyve got a chance to go down the road. Theyll definitely have a drop off in the next year or two, but like I said Honeycutt does a really good job. Im sure hell have his team ready every year, but losing those seniors is definitely going to hurt.
Even though the pace was set for the game, the Longhorns made a valiant effort coming into the second. Ryan Mahala was the first to break the ice, landing a short lay-up within the first minute of the period. Brian Dempsey was next, pushing his team to 10 on the scoreboard while another basket by Mahala and one from Dalton Timbs helped bring the score to 14-29. The Cyclones had enough time left in the half to land a few more threes, closing out the half 16-36.
The third quarter didnt fare much better for Johnson County, making exception for another handful of baskets by Dempsey, Timbs, and J.R. Speed. The Cyclones never lost steam, forcing Johnson County to keep up in a faced paced game that left many of the boys visibly exhausted. Despite the taxation, many of the Longhorns kept at it all four quarters, with fresh faces from the bench coming in only at the very end. By then Elizabethton had put up more than 70 points while Johnson County remained behind at 36.
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