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Tough three-point loss for boys to Sullian North

With a couple of their key players missing in action, the Longhorns had their hands full in Kingsport Friday night against the Sullivan North Golden Raiders. Even so, several players from Johnson County stepped up to help keep their team in the game all the way down to the last few seconds. Dalton Timbs, Brian Dempsey, and J.R. Speed created a formidable offense in answer to talented players like Chase Arnold from Sullivan North.
In all Timbs made 20 of Johnson County’s 57 total points, with Dempsey right behind him at 19. Those two juniors, along with sophomore J.R. Speed as point guard, worked hard to deliver the ball to the basket and throughout the first half there was a lot of success. In fact, the Longhorns led the game through the first six minutes of the first quarter, and even with a couple of costly last minute mistakes, were still able to close just one point behind at 12-13.
The second quarter went much better with the Longhorns finally regaining the lead about half way through and keeping it until halftime. A big three pointer from Timbs just over the two minute mark pushed the score to 27-21 and things were looking pretty good for Johnson County. As Coach Austin Atwood pointed out, one bad quarter can cost the game. “The third quarter got us,” Atwood said. “It was 13 to 4 and not only did we make some bad decisions, we just couldn’t score. North did a good job in the third quarter. We had J.R. on point guard. He’s young, he’s just a sophomore, but he had a stretch there where he turned it over and he hadn’t done that lately. Take that stretch away and who knows. We were missing two of our top seven or eight guys as well. If we had Chase Phillips it would have been a lot different, but they’ll be back.”
While they did very well offensively the first half, there was almost no progress in the third quarter. Dalton Timbs made a single bucket early on to put the team at 30, but from there Johnson County did not move on the scoreboard until a foul against Brian Dempsey pushed them up two more points to 32. On the other hand, the Raiders steadily advanced throughout the period, made especially successful by a string of turnovers midway.
Down by 11 coming into the fourth at 32-43 the Longhorns didn’t let the gap widen through the first four minutes, but didn’t close it either. It was not until the last couple of minutes that thing really started to pick back up as trips to the free throw line and another three pointer by Timbs began to eat away at the deficit. With just 51 seconds left in the game the score came all the way down to three points at 52-55. A couple of Johnson County fouls widened the gap, but then a critical three pointer from Brian Dempsey pushed it to 55-57. With just 11 seconds in the game, a last couple of fouls saw the chances of a win slip through the Longhorns fingers, ending up with a final score of 57-60.

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