The Johnson County Longhorns faced a tough challenge competing against the Sullivan North Raiders, coming up short despite a fierce battle that at one point brought the Longhorns within seven points of taking the lead. Starting off on a bad note, Johnson County was down by more than ten coming into the second quarter and continued slipping all the way to halftime. A rally halfway through the third put the Longhorns in a much better position but were unable to ever overtake the Raiders, ending the game 52-66.
According to Coach Austin Atwood, We just turned it over too much. We cut the thing back to seven with about four minutes to go in the third but we turned it over two or three times there. We just didnt defend like we normally do, but take away four or five mistakes we made and this game is a whole lot closer.
Although the Longhorns couldnt get a handle on Sullivan Norths offense as effectively as they would have liked, the game did slow down in the third quarter, giving Johnson County the chance to get back in the game. With just over four minutes left on the clock the gap had closed to seven, with Johnson County at 28 and Sullivan North 35.
This was the first game that Johnson County had played since taking on Cherokee in an away game more than two weeks ago, a fact that had worried Atwood. I knew we were going to be a little sluggish, but at least we did cut the thing to seven, and if Quentin Wright had made that three in the corner we would have cut the game to four. We just had some things that didnt go our way but were gradually going to get better. They went on a couple of runs there and we just didnt get the stops we needed. We knew the only way their number 25 could score is if he got offensive rebounds but he got eight points off of us.
Fortunately, several players off the bench were given opportunities to gain some experience, including Tyler Shaw, who made the last basket of the game with a last second three-pointer. Among those who made an appearance on the floor was Chase Kleine, returning to the court after a lengthy stay on the injured list. According to Atwood, Weve got to get Chase Kleine back in the sync of things. It will take him two or three games to get him back to where he needs to be, but were going to be in better shape.
Kleine himself seemed to share the sentiment stating, I played sluggish and sloppy. Its going to take me a while to get back into it, but its a team sport. Defensively, we didnt execute what our coach told us to do. Without that you cant win ballgames. Youve got to listen to your coach. When we got it back down to seven in the third quarter we should have taken care of business right there. I thought we had it and it kind of slipped away.
The third quarter ended after yet another run by Sullivan North that closed the period 30-47. The fourth didnt go much better despite several three-pointers from Dusty Stout. With three minutes left in the game, Johnson County had fallen back to 42-60, but a last minute rally, topped off with Shaws final three-point game brought the close 52-66.
Brian Dempsey 17
Dusty Stout 9
Carlton Tugman 6
T.J. Patterson 5
Chase Kleine 3
Tyler Shaw 3
Dalton Timbs 3
Chase Phillips 3
River Cazire 2
Ryan Mahala 2