Lady Longhorns edged in OT

By Matt Hill

STAR STAFF

   MOUNTAIN CITY -- The Johnson County-Volunteer girls game had more thrills than a bungee jumping trip.
   But on this night, it was Volunteer that ended up jumping for joy.
   The Lady Falcons defeated the Lady Longhorns in a 51-49 overtime thriller at Ray Shoun Gym.
   Despite the loss, it was still a valiant effort for the Lady Longhorns, who are still searching for their first conference victory.
   "Sometimes things don't go our way," Lady Longhorn post Jessica Townsend said. "But that's all right. We've just got to build off of it, and go into the next game and work even harder."
   One play that didn't go Johnson County's way involved Townsend. The Longhorns were looking to win the game at the end of regulation when Townsend had the ball, but she was called for three seconds with 3.2 seconds left to send the contest into overtime tied at 43-43.
   Volunteer led throughout the overtime, but Johnson County cut the Falcon lead to 48-46 with 25 seconds to go on a bucket by Courtney Shaw.
   Tameka Trammel was then sent to the line for Volunteer, and missed both free-throws. But Volunteer got the rebound, and Megan Arnold then scored to give the Lady Falcons a 50-46 edge. Volunteer was never threatened after that.
   Andrea McQueen did hit a three-pointer right before the buzzer to make it a 51-49 game, but by that time it was pretty much a done deal.
   Townsend thought Johnson County's turnovers were big in the overtime.
   "We turned the ball over too much," Townsend said.
   The Longhorns may not have won the game, but it was definitely an accomplishment for them just to get the contest into the overtime.
   Johnson County was down 40-33 going into the fourth quarter, but stepped up its game in the final eight minutes.
   After a bucket and two free-throws by Nikki Davidson cut the Lady Falcon lead to 40-37, Townsend took over by hitting two shots in a row to give Johnson County a 41-40 edge with three minutes remaining.
   When asked what got things clicking during the fourth quarter, Townsend commented about teamwork.
   "We just played together as a team," Townsend said.
   The Longhorns played great defense during the final frame, as Volunteer failed to make a field goal in the last quarter.
   Another key play in the ball game happened when Joy Dobbs missed a shot with about a minute left, and it looked like the Longhorns got the rebound.
   But a Volunteer player grabbed a hold of the ball, giving the Lady Falcons a jump ball call.
   On the next possession, Morgan Smith was fouled, and made one out of two from the charity stripe to tie the game at 43-43. The score remained that way for the rest of regulation.
   McQueen, who tied Townsend as the Lady Longhorns' leading scorer with 16, would like to see more quarters played just like the fourth was.
   "We go through hot and cold streaks," McQueen said. "We need to start evening out our game, and playing four good quarters."
   McQueen was very happy with how the team rallied from the fourth quarter deficit.
   "I was proud of that," McQueen said. "We came back and we played as a team. That's something we've been struggling to do all year long. I think that's a test that we can come back and finish out this year pretty good."
   Another Longhorn player that deserves recognition is Davidson. She had six points, but they all came in that fourth quarter comeback.
   Volunteer, who bounced back form a 70-36 loss to Hampton on Tuesday night, was led in scoring by Arnold. She had 16 on the night.
   Smith netted 12 for the Lady Falcons.
   Volunteer improves to 4-2 in Watauga Conference play and 11-5 overall. Johnson County is now 0-6 in the conference and 4-9 overall.
   Johnson County is showing vast improvement, but Townsend believes thing can get even
   "We played hard, but I'm not pleased," Townsend said about Friday's performance. We can play better."