Junior Bulldogs, Longhorns split

By Matt Hill

   The phone bills of the Johnson County Middle School girls basketball team may be pretty high next month. That's because the Lady Longhorns were hitting from long distance all night long Thursday.
   Johnson County made six three-pointers en route to earning a 41-26 victory over the Hampton Lady Bulldogs in junior high basketball action at Hampton Elementary.
   "I've been begging them for a month to shoot them," Johnson County head coach Steve Nave said. "They think they can't shoot them. I told them if we make the outside shot it will open up our inside game, and they finally did it tonight."
   The Lady Longhorns hit four of those three-pointers in the first half, as they led 19-13 at the intermission.
   The long range shooting came as a shock to Hampton head coach Ronnie Street.
   "No," Street said when asked if he was expecting that. "We were watching the big girls underneath."
   Hampton still had a chance going into the fourth quarter, as the Lady Bulldogs were only trailing 30-23 going into the final frame. But the last stanza would be all Johnson County.
   The Lady Longhorns outscored Hampton 11-2 in the first four minutes of the second quarter, and that pretty much sealed the deal for Johnson County.
   The Lady Longhorns played some mean defense in this one, holding Hampton to just three points in the second and fourth quarters.
   "We did a good job on our press," Nave said. "We don't do anything fancy, we just deny the ball in and they hustled. They played hard."
   Street also thought his team played hard, but was not happy with the Bulldogs' 6-of-19 free-throw shooting.
   "We missed a lot of foul shots," Street said. "But they played hard. If you don't have a couple of rebounders and somebody that can make foul shots, you're not going to win."
   April McCloud led the Lady Longhorns with 14, while Paige Morefield poured in 10 for Johnson County.
   Tamra Lyons topped Hampton with seven.
   Hampton 46
   Johnson County 31
   The Bulldogs outscored Johnson County 14-2 in the first quarter, and never looked back.
   "We played well early," Hampton head coach Leon Tolley said. "You could tell we hadn't played a game in a month. I was pleased with the effort. They played hard."
   Johnson County head coach Julian Crews thought his team just couldn't get the momentum after the tough early start.
   "We couldn't get a couple of minutes together at the same time," Crews said. "We couldn't get a flow."
   Hampton took a 24-10 lead into the locker room, but the Longhorns played a very respectable second half. Johnson County was only outscored by one in the final 12 minutes.
   "We started getting things together in the second half," Crews said. "We started getting things in-sync. I had five guys coming in and they rebounded a little bit better, and forced them into some turnovers. Defense picked it up a little bit."
   Hampton was never really threatened in this one, as the Longhorns never got any closer than 10 points in the second half.
   "Johnson County's got a lot of talent," Tolley said. "I just feel really fortunate to get a win after such a long layoff."
   Jordan Honeycutt led Hampton with 15, but nine different Bulldog players scored in this one.
   Gary Evans topped Johnson County with 11.
   Johnson County defeated Hampton 27-20 in the boys junior varsity contest, while the Lady Bulldog JV team continues to improve as they defeated the Lady Longhorns 25-16 in the girls B-team game.