By Tim Chambers
BLUFF CITY—Johnson County was within a whisker of earning a big win in Sullivan East’s back yard but their defense was unable to exterminate the “Grubb-Worm.”
Gavin Grubb fired in 27 points including eight consecutive ones to start the fourth quarter that enabled them to knock off the Horns 56-46 on Tuesday at the Patriot Palace.
The Longhorns played solid for three quarters with a defensive effort that eliminated the ‘Pats from second chance points. But that’s when last year’s conference player of the year took over with East holding a slim 35-34 advantage.
“He’s a special player,” said Johnson County head coach Austin Atwood about Grubb. “But I felt like our kids played with a lot of effort and heart tonight. We didn’t give up very many easy baskets and I thought we rebounded pretty well although they were much bigger. I feel pretty good about our team right now. I’m hoping we peak at the right time with tournaments just around the corner.”
The Longhorns used two long treys by Bud Icenhour and baskets by Austin Houser, Jordan Edes and Nathan Arnold to grab a 12-11 advantage after one. The game remained tight throughout the second quarter with neither team able to open up a big advantage.
Edes had a pair of baskets for the Horns but four free throws by Aaron Frye would offset that. The Patriots got a couple of late buckets including a buzzer-beating layup by Garrett Johnson to go up 24-20 at the half. Yet Johnson County still remained in the hunt.
East built the lead to six to start the third quarter but Johnson County kept plugging away with some clutch baskets. Icenhour had five points including a snowbird that got them within two at 31-29. Blake Atwood would put the Horns in front with a three-ball at the 2:18 mark that made it 32-31. The Pats got four points from Grubb to close the quarter and led 35-34 heading into the final frame. He made sure that the momentum they built didn’t swing.
For the rest of the story pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.