The Johnson County Longhorns were faced with a long, tough night coming out against the Sullivan East Patriots. Yet, even with the odds against them the Longhorns would not back down and gave the Patriots no easy victory. Following a junior varsity game filled with fouls, three-point shots, and an intense offense, the Johnson County boys knew what to expect, but did not balk at the challenge before them.
The first half of the game began favorably for the Longhorns, making the first score on the board, using a strong defense to keep Easts score low, and managing a points deficit that could easily be corrected. By the beginning of the second quarter the Longhorns were down 7-10, but it seemed as though Johnson County would be able to keep a handle on the Patriots offense. A bucket by Brian Dempsey at the five-minute mark brought Johnson County within one basket of taking the lead, but the game quickly got away from them again, ending the half 14-22.
The Patriots really began turning up the heat in the third quarter, keeping Johnson County from scoring for the first two minutes. At the same time a string of four buckets pushed East up to 30, giving them a 16-point lead. The Longhorns made a slight comeback in the second half of the period, getting back on the board with help from Chase Phillips and Chase Kleine, but were unable to stall the Patriots momentum, entering the fourth quarter 24-39.
After battling through the grueling Junior Varsity game earlier in the night, T.J. Patterson was set to take on the next round against the Patriots. The JV game, it didnt really bother me. It was tough but it didnt really faze me. The biggest problem was defending the three. They can shoot the three, lights out. I think we handled it pretty well. We were all right on defense but we couldnt hit our shots and that hurt us. Our defense was doing their job but they have awesome shooters and we just couldnt stop it. Weve just got to work as a team, fix these problems and move on.
The Longhorns worked hard to make up the Patriots lead going into the fourth quarter but were matched step for step with every bucket. Making things worse was a couple of successful three-pointers that bumped East up nearly by twenty, with only three minutes left in the game. Not wanting to give up so close to the end, the Longhorns made a last minute drive, finishing the game with their own three-pointer, 34-49.
Coming into the game Johnson County realized they had a tough road to travel, a fact that Coach Austin Atwood knew as well. Of course theyre big and John Dyer is probably doing the finest job in the state. They were well coached, they know how to block out, they know how to get into position, and they attacked that weak side of the board. They just did a good job and we didnt. Even when we did, sometimes they just out jumped us and made the plays anyway.
Commenting on the outcome of the game, Atwood went on to say, If we made shots early I think it would have been a closer game. Maybe a different game, if we had put a little pressure on them by scoring early maybe.
Chase Kleine 8
Chase Phillips 8
Carlton Tugman 7
Ryan Mahala 5
J.R. Speed 3
Brian Dempsey 2
T.J. Patterson 1