Johnson County squads, Range able to advance

By Marvin Birchfield

   The Carter/Johnson County District Tournament tipped on Saturday, with the Longhorns and Rebels advancing in the boys, while the Johnson Co. girls extended their season in ladies action.
   Johnson County took on Happy Valley in the battle of the big schools, with the Longhorn boys coming away with a 40-24 victory.
   "Our shots weren't falling in the first half and Happy Valley was doing a good job at defending us," said Jr. Longhorn coach Chris Mullins. "We came out in the second-half and turned up the intensity so the defense really stepped up."
   Tyler Leonard led the way for Johnson County with a total of 15 points by night's end.
   The Jr. Warriors came out to grab a 5-0 lead after Jessee Richardson nailed a three-point goal and a bucket from the field.
   Johnson County came back to tie the contest at the end of the first period, when Devin Shaw hit a three with 1:55 left.
   The Longhorns took control in the second period, after Leonard made a steal and lay-up to put the Longhorns up 12-7, but a shot at the buzzer from Nathan Whitson pulled the Warriors to within three at the half.
   Johnson County started to convert on the transition during the third quarter, as eight of its 14 points came off the break.
   The Warriors became fired up to start the fourth quarter, opening with a basket from Nick Payne off a pass from Whitson.
   Happy Valley's rally was short-lived as Leonard took over and scored eight straight points to put the game out of reach.
   "We started off strong and then we lost some of our aggression," said Happy Valley coach Rik Anderson. "We got caught up in the game and didn't get the right looks we needed to score with, and something we need to learn is how to convert in tight situations."
   The Longhorns advance to meet Hampton in the second round.
   Range 43
   Little Milligan 34
   The Buffaloes were unable to overcome a 14-point deficit they received during the first quarter.
   "We got off to a good start, and when they started pressuring us we had a little trouble," said Range coach Orris Densford. "Our eighth graders finally settled down and we're just happy to get the win."
   Brent Humphrey led the way with 10 first-quarter points, as he finished as the game-leading scorer with 14 points total.
   Cory Crumley scored all the Buffaloes points during the first, as he led them in scoring with 12 points on the evening.
   "I expected us to be more ready than what we were at the start," said Little Milligan coach Jason Mills. "I thought we beat them on the offensive end, but by the end of the third period they started beating us down the floor and that hurt us."
   Little Milligan trailed 28-17 at the half, and by the end of the third quarter they cut into the margin and was down by eight heading to the final period.
   The Buffaloes were unable to trim into the Rebels' lead during the fourth, with the victory for Range being its first in postseason play in the last couple of years.
   Lady Jr. Longhorns 27
   Lady Longhorns 16
   After getting off to a horrible start, the Lady Longhorns got their ship headed in the right direction to knock off Hunter in a 27-16 final.
   Hunter led 4-0 after the first period of play, when Hannah Colbaugh hit a 12-foot baseline jumper and connected off the rebound with the putback.
   "We knew Hunter could play halfcourt basketball, and we didn't get anything going in the first-half," said Johnson County coach Steve Nave. "We did a better job in the second-half by getting the ball down the floor."
   During the second period, it was the Lady Tigers who struggled on offense, as Johnson County took a 7-4 lead heading into the half.
   The Longhorns had a 15-11 lead by the end of the third period, as Jill South led the way by scoring all of Johnson County's points during the quarter.
   South continued to show her presence all game long by pouring in 12 points total, while teammate Keisha Eller added 10 on the night.
   The Tigers were unable to shrink the deficit in the final period, after missing 11 attempts from the foul line and a total of 16 for the game.
   "We played good defense even though our rebounding wasn't great," said Nave. "We got some steals and that helped us get into our transition."