The Lady Longhorns are still having a little trouble pulling together a consistent game against a tough opponent this season as was evident from the teams latest matchup at Hampton Friday. Having played a solid couple of quarters against the Lady Bulldogs that was only five points apart at the half, the whole game shifted dramatically at the beginning of the third as Johnson County dug a hole they simply couldnt work their way out of.
We were down five and we wanted to come out in the first three minutes and make a statement in the second half, said head coach Todd Whittemore. It was a decent first half, but then in the third quarter we only scored seven points. We came out and missed a point blank shot, and instead of going up strong we give up a one-foot shot by passing out to a six-foot shot. Then we fouled twice and gave up the offensive rebound. Before I called my first time out they went up a seven-to-one run at the start.
The Lady Longhorns held their own through most of the game but never had it easy. Hampton got off to an early four-point lead with two consecutive baskets, but Johnson Countys two seniors, Brooke Brown and Brionna Reece, were able to put three buckets to close out the first 6-14. The whole team displayed a strong effort in the second, with Mary Taylor and Amanda Potter adding several free throws into the mix. With the defense working hard to hold the Lady Bulldogs back, Johnson County eventually cut the lead down to 17-22 at the half with the last basket coming from a buzzer buster by Brooke Brown.
The big problem throughout the game was Hamptons ability to shoot long range threes with uncanny accuracy, especially from talented players like Monica Olivera. Olivera had three of them all in the same spot, Whittemore said. In our transition defense we have to run back and defend players, not run back to the block. This isnt rec ball where you play a spot. You play people and the ball scores. You have to know where the ball is. You cant just disregard it and run to the spot.
Unfortunately, it was those same open three-pointers that helped sink Johnson Countys chances in the third. Making things worse, the Lady Longhorns got into costly foul trouble that gave Hampton enough free throws to jump from 22 to 31 in the first four minutes of the third quarter. By comparison, Johnson Countys only points came from two baskets from Brooke Brown midway through the period and a single free throw from Brionna Reece.
Now facing a double digit deficit, the Lady Longhorns best efforts in the fourth quarter were in vain as Hampton continued to rely on outside shots from the corners. Regardless, Johnson County did show some late game success with Kourtney Tolley nailing several buckets along with Mary Taylor and Michala Cretsinger. In the end, Johnson Countys girls varsity team faced a 39-60 loss, a stark difference from the earlier Junior Varsity game where many of the same players were able to dominate through all four quarters for a 41-34 victory.
That game proved to be the only win of the night for any of Johnson Countys teams, and was largely attributed to the Lady Longhorns performance on the rebound, which they claimed 40 times throughout the game. Fourteen of those went to Sophomore Amanda Potter alone, along with eight attributed to Mary Taylor and another seven to Kelsey Duperry. Regrettably, the disappointing varsity game ultimately dampened the excitement of the earlier victory.
I was really hoping for something different than what we saw at the beginning of the second half, Coach Whittemore concluded. I think we survived the first half. They played well but we were only down five. I was optimistic but that third quarter did it. We were down 17 going into the fourth and that really changes your strategy. We just didnt execute.
Johnson County 39
Brooke Brown 12
Brionna Reece 11
Mary Taylor 5
Kourtney Tolley 5
Amanda Potter 3
Michala Cretsinger 3