By Tim Chambers
Baseball and softball season is just around the corner and the teams have been “tossing” for over a month. It’s safe to say that boys head basketball coach and athletic director Austin Atwood have been “tossing” to.
The 2016-17 basketball campaign was one of frustration and heartbreak on the boys’ side. Who could blame Atwood for losing sleep? I would have been tossing in my sleep too after losing a slew of close conference games.
The Longhorns had more bad luck than Howdy Doody had freckles this year. Let’s recap the road to misery.
It all started with a 71-70 loss to DeKalb County in a tournament at Cannon County High School. The Horns had the lead in the final seconds but couldn’t hang on.
Next was a 64-60 barnburner home loss to Hampton. It’s another contest where they held the lead only to watch it slip away in the final minute.
The same can be said at Happy Valley where the Horns led by nine going into the final quarter but lost 63-59. They shot 22 percent in the final period.
But there’s more.
They led late in the third quarter at Unicoi before falling 48-37. The trailed by only one point at Sullivan East at the end of the third stanza but ended up losing by 10.
Overtime home losses to Happy Valley (73-68), Unicoi County (58-50) and Sullivan East (77-68) were games that the Horns could have pulled out a victory. They stubbed their toe at Sullivan South, a costly 45-36 loss that placed them as the sixth seed in the District tournament.
Their reward was playing Unicoi County in the first round that happens to be playing for the championship on Tuesday after upsetting Elizabethton. The Longhorns shot 52 percent against the Blue Devils and still lost. The Blue Devils shot seven percent better than the Horns and three percent better than that against the Cyclones.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s