By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
Trying to earn a win in the Three Rivers Conference has been a difficult task for both Sullivan North and Johnson County.
So Fridays game was a donnybrook between two schools looking for their league victory. The Golden Raiders fought and clawed their way to a 65-60 win before a jam packed Ray Shoun Gymnasium. It was tournament-like atmosphere from the get-go.
The game turned into a foul shooting contest with 70 free throws being attempted between the two schools. The Longhorns could knock down only 11-of-31 from the line. North was just a little better, shooting 16-for-39.
The Longhorns overcame a 14-point four quarter deficit to get within one with 38 seconds remaining. But they missed their last seven free throw attempts and North was able to make four that preserved the win.
I dont think us being tired was the reason we didnt shoot well from the foul line late, said Johnson County head coach Thomas Wampler. I cant say for sure but it could have been the pressure situation that they were in. Most of them have never been in that situation before. The ones that got to the line were not necessarily our best free throw shooters which is a credit to North knowing who to foul. But I wouldnt credit our misses to being tired.
North grabbed an early 11-2 lead but Johnson County would battle back to get within striking distance. Michala Cretsinger came off the bench to score six points including a three-ball at the buzzer that cut a double-digit deficit back to 22-15.
But the Golden Raiders would double that by midway thought the second period.
They opened up a 16-point advantage (33-17) by going on an 11-2 run. Johnson County managed to stay in the game with a six-point output by Courtney Brooks, including her late trey that capped off their 8-3 run.
They trailed 36-25 at the half.
North continued to light it up in the third quarter by scoring 21 points. But Johnson County found its offense behind the red-hot shooting of senior guard Kelsie Terrill and Cretsinger.
Terrill scored 10 points in the quarter including one trey that got them within four at 47-43 with 1:51 remaining in the third.
Cretsinger added seven with five of them getting the margin back under 10.
The Golden Raiders closed the third by going on a 10-2 run and led 57-45 after three.
But things got interesting in the fourth after North had built a 59-45 advantage.
Two large pyramids built by the cheerleaders during a timeout got a rowdy crowd back in the game. It got louder when Cretsinger swished a pair of trifectas that closed the gap to 60-56 with 3:01 remaining in the game.
The Longhorns had a golden opportunity to win the game but couldnt cash in at the charity stripe.
Brittney Brooks made 1-of-2 that got them within one at 61-60. But Johnson County would miss nine crucial free throws over the final three minutes including seven in a row down the stretch, allowing North to escape with the win.
Cretsinger led the Longhorns with 21 points including four treys. She also provided six rebounds and four assists. Terrill had a double-double, 15 points and 10 rebounds. Brittney Brooks led the rebounding with 14 in addition to scoring 12 points.
Shenoah Bradley scored a game high 28 points for the Lady Golden Raiders. Erica Schwartz added 14 and Rhealyn Salyers tossed in 10.
The Longhorns had three players foul out and lost two with injuries. Wampler nearly ran out of players by the games end.
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