By Tim Chambers
Johnson County played dead even with Sullivan East for three quarters before their ship sank during the final stanza. The Patriots outscored them 22-11 in the final period to earn a 51-40 Three Rivers Conference victory inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium.
The Pats led 8-7 after one and 22-20 at the half.
The Longhorns held a two-point advantage twice in the game. The first one came after Natalie Winters hit a three to put them on top 12-10, but that was quickly erased.
Rhiannon Icenhour’s basket gave them a 29-27 lead late in the third quarter, but East pulled even heading into the fourth.
Fourth quarter one-minute meltdown
The Patriots opened the final quarter with a three-point play by Haley Grubb to go up by three. Kylee Wolfe’s three-ball and another runner by Grubb capped off an 8-0 run that took 52 seconds.
A couple of buckets by Taylor Cox would get the Horns back within five with 2:14 remaining, but they couldn’t muster enough offense down the stretch to overtake the Lady Pats. East made up the difference at the foul line.
Emmy Miller led the Longhorns with 14 points and eight rebounds, while Cox added 12 points and nine boards with Winters providing six points and three assists. Abby Cornett hit a three-ball and collected three steals for the girls.
Grubb tallied a game-high 18 points for the Patriots. Wolfe finished with 13 while Riley Johnson tossed in nine.
Tolley pointed to the 8-0 run as being the difference in the game.
“Mentally we lost our focus for a minute to start the fourth quarter, and in doing so we lost the game,” said Tolley. “We didn’t do a good job of sharing the ball on offense, and we quit communicating on defense. We’re having a hard time of keeping our focus for 32 minutes, and tonight it showed. The team in red (East) is a good team, but they didn’t beat us. We, the team in white beat us tonight.”
SULLIVAN EAST (51)
Grubb 18, Wolfe 12, Nelson 9, Honaker 6, Brinkman 3, Aubrey 3.
JOHNSON COUNTY (40)
Cox 12, Miller 14, Winters 6, Kleine 2, Stout 0, Cornett 4, Icenhour 2.
Sullivan E. 8 14 7 22 -51
JCHS 7 13 9 11 -40
3-point goals—SE 4 (Wolfe 3, Aubrey 1) JC 2 (Cornett 2, Cox 1).