By Tim Chambers
Tournament time is usually filled with a lot of exciting games and plenty of upsets. That was the case on Saturday when Sullivan South defeated #9 ranked Johnson County 58-50 in the semifinals of the District 1-AA tournament.
The Horns watched as the Rebels celebrated which left a bad taste in the mouths of many Johnson County fans. But here is my message to fans, players and even coaches.
Put it behind you and get over it. We have a whole lot left to play for, and it began on Tuesday.
Johnson County did its part during the regular season by securing its self an automatic berth into the regional tournament by finishing in a tie with Elizabethton for the Three Rivers Conference Championship.
And remember that tournament time produces a lot of upsets? The same thing happened in the District 2 semifinal game.
Chuckey-Doak defeated top seed South Greene 57-56 and propelled the Black Knights to the championship game.
They play Greeneville in the championship game on Tuesday, a team they lost to 82-57 during the regular season. So now things are starting to shape up.
Let’s assume that Greeneville defeats C-D in the championship game and Johnson County was to beat Unicoi County for the third time in the third-place game. Now it starts to get interesting.
Longhorn fans should remember last year’s first-round regional tournament game at home. Chuckey-Doak came into our house and stole a 66-64 win by knocking down a layup off a steal at the buzzer.
Many felt like Blake Atwood got knocked down and was fouled and I totally agree with their observation.
The Longhorns should need no motivation if it comes to playing at Chuckey-Doak on Tuesday. Wouldn’t it be karma if we could go inside their house and end their season just like they did to us last year?
Is it possible? You tell me.
The Black Knights and Longhorns have played several common opponents. They were beaten by Unicoi County twice and lost to Sullivan South 60-41.
They also lost to Happy Valley 46-28 in a Christmas tournament at Sullivan North but won inside of Bayless Gymnasium over the Warriors 42-24 back on January 4.
They lost to Hampton 60-55 at home in their final regular season game. They finished 5-6 in league play and were the fourth seed going into the District Tournament.
So what does this mean to Johnson County? It means nothing at the moment.
Johnson County had to take care of business in the third-place game on Tuesday and defeat Unicoi County for the third time. If they did and Greeneville prevailed then all their attention could be aimed at the Black Knights.
Game time would be at 7 p.m. in Afton.
A loss could send them to Greeneville who nearly defeated Dobyns-Bennett before falling 54-51. It’s enough to confuse all of us.
But be assured that Johnson County has a whole lot left to play for.
Hopefully, it all starts on Saturday night at Chuckey-Doak.
A tip of the hat to the
I found another bit of history while searching the archives and learning that the Lady Longhorns hadn’t won a District tournament game in 24 years. Their 14 wins this year is the most ever by the girl’s program.
Johnson County won 13 games back in the day when Scotty Bunton was the head coach, and Elisha Milan was a junior. Milan is the girl’s all-time leading scorer and holds the single-game scoring record.
She had 51 points against Cloudland that year breaking her record of 50 points scored in a game. She averaged over 31 points per game that season.
The current Lady Longhorns will return everyone next season along with Adrian Hall who led the team in scoring as a sophomore.
Let us give a tip of the cap to Coaches Leon Tolley, Garry Smith and Kechia Eller for a job well done.
Tim Chambers is the sports editor for the Tomahawk and can be reached by email at [email protected]