Lindholm's 34 lifts Falcons over 'Horns

By Matt Hill

   CHURCH HILL--Going into this season, the Volunteer boys basketball team was picked around the middle of the pack in the Watauga Conference, and Chucky Lindholm's name didn't exactly pop up when talking about the area's elite basketball players.
   All that changed on Tuesday night.
   Lindholm poured in 34 points, as the Falcons made a statement to the rest of the Watauga Conference in a 62-53 victory over Johnson County at Volunteer High School.
   The win puts the Falcons, who were picked fourth in most preseason Watauga Conference polls, in a position to take over sole possession of first place if they upset Elizabethton.
   "We were the underdogs and we loved it," Lindholm said. "We love being the underdogs. On Friday night we play Elizabethton. We can't wait. We're excited about it. We can't wait to play them."
   Lindholm looked like he couldn't wait to play Tuesday night. In addition to his scoring outburst, Lindholm also netted 14 rebounds during the contest.
   "He's hard to defend down here," Johnson County head coach Austin Atwood said. "We shut Marcus Bellamy down and I felt like we did a good job on Andrew Nelms. But I didn't know (Lindholm had 34).
   The Longhorns prevented this from becoming a huge blowout in the third quarter, and even got back into a position to win the basketball game.
   The Falcons, who led by as many as 17 points in the second quarter, went into the locker room with a 34-25 lead.
   Johnson County rallied back, as Matt Cornett scored seven unanswered points for the Longhorns to propel his team to within two points at 34-32 with 6:30 to go in the frame.
   The Longhorns actually took the lead with 1:45 to go in the third at 38-37 on a three-point play by Michael Lipford.
   But it was just too much Lindholm down the stretch. Lindholm scored 12 fourth-quarter points, as Volunteer outscored Johnson County 23-15 in the final period.
   "We just couldn't get the defensive stops when we needed to," Atwood said. "Throughout the year, we usually did that."
   Cornett topped the Longhorns with 20, while Tommy Short finished with 17 points.
   Short had an amazing first half, as he scored 16. Short was plagued in the second half with foul trouble.
   The Longhorns will be back in action Thursday night at home against Unaka.
   Volunteer 54
   Johnson County 39
   The Lady Longhorns hit only five shots from the field in the first half, and couldn't recover from a fourteen-point halftime deficit.
   Johnson County kept it respectable in the second half, and even cut the lead to 12 points in the final minutes.
   Johnson County head coach Eric Crabtree believes his team needs some confidence right now.
   "We've got to get confidence," he said. "With confidence comes better play. With confidence comes more enjoyment. With confidence comes a lot of things. We've got to gain that confidence little by little. The last two weeks, I thought we had gained a lot of confidence. I thought we had played great ball games. Then all of a sudden, the last two you never thought we had done anything. We've just got to find it within ourselves to fight."
   Nikki Davidson was a bright spot for Johnson County, as she finished with 14 points. Leah Johnson topped Volunteer with 18.