Jr. Bulldogs storm back  to top 'Horns

By Ivan Sanders
STAR CORRESPONDENT

   The Jr. Longhorns of Johnson County learned a valuable lesson about bulldogs on Thursday night. They are at their meanest just when you think you've got them caged.
   The Hampton Jr. Bulldogs came roaring back from a 17-0 second-quarter deficit to defeat the 'Horns 35-34 in the consolation bracket of the large school Carter/Johnson County tournament at Unaka High School.
   The 'Dogs went into battle without their big man, Jordan Honeycutt, and their head coach, Leon Tolley, but that wasn't enough to keep the boys from Hampton down.
   "I told them we were not out of it at halftime," said coach Bennie Stevens, who was filling in for Tolley. "I am proud of the way they came out and played the second half."
   Hampton didn't score its first bucket until 2:38 was remaining until intermission. They managed to make a little run and narrow the gap to 17-6 at half.
   The Jr. 'Dogs came out and were looking for some fresh Longhorn hide to begin the second half. Hampton outscored the 'Horns 13-7 in the third period to cut the lead to 26-19 entering the fourth quarter.
   Cody Ford and Lucas Roark stepped up big for Hampton with Honeycutt out of the line-up to snag several key boards for the 'Dogs.
   Said Roark: "We didn't do anything in that first half. We kind of overlooked them because we beat them twice in the season. We came out and really played hard in the second half."
   The game came down to some all-out hustle as both teams were consistently diving after lose balls.
   The fourth period was worth the price of admission as Jon Potter was able to put back a big rebound for a deuce after missing two free throws with :20.1 left in the contest to give the 'Dogs the lead.
   The Jr. Longhorns had one last attempt with :03.5 left, but were unable to get a shot off as the buzzer sounded.
   "It feels good to end the season with a victory," stated Roark.
   Girls
   Hunter..............................21
   Johnson County.................37
  
The Jr. Lady Longhorns defeated the Lady Tigers in the big school tournament consolation game by a score of 37-21 at Unaka High School.
   The game was close in the first half as Hunter was able to stay close to Johnson County, trailing by only two at the half, 12-10.
   Ryann Tillman provided most of the spark from her post position for the Lady 'Horns as she used her height advantage to score easy buckets inside and pull down several rebounds.
   Jordan Muratore led the Lady Tigers on the evening with 9 points. Muratore used a combination of finesse and muscle to keep Hunter within claws length of the 'Horns.
   The third period was the tell-tell period as Johnson County outran and outgunned the Lady Tigers to a tune of 15-4 to take a 27-14 lead into the final quarter.
   Johnson County put it into cruise mode in the fourth as they would record 10 more points in their column, and Hunter would add seven to finish the tally sheet out with a 16-point win.
   Kristen Grindstaff and Amy Colbaugh registered four each for the Lady Tigers, while Tillman finished the evening as the leading scorer with 14 for Johnson County.
   Billie Hurd and Becky Stout added 9 and 8 respectively to the winners cause.
   Small School Consolation Game--Boys
   Range...................................43
   Keenburg..............................50
  
The Range Rebels left their cannons at home and exchanged them for long-range rifles as they gave the Keenburg Tigers all they wanted and more.
   Charlie Guinn was red-hot in the first half for the Rebels, scoring 17 off his game-high 26 points in the stanza to keep the boys from Range within five at the break 25-20.
   The Tigers countered Guinn with some deep treys of their own off the hands of Cody Marley and Josh Moore.
   Someone must have called Mayberry at intermission and told on Opie -- Opie Lambert that is. Lambert was surprisingly quiet in the half as he went scoreless.
   Just like Opie of the Andy Griffith Show, after some readjusting of his sights, Lambert begin finding the bottom of the bucket. He went on to lead the Tigers in scoring with 15 on the night, with three treys.
   Kevin Jessee was called upon to keep the Rebels in the contest after Guinn was saddled with his fifth personal. He responded with 12 points on some nice, driving lay-ins to keep the Rebels within sight.
   Besides Lambert's output, the Tigers received 12 from Marley and 11 from Moore. Daniel Gardner and Josh Jones gave the Tigers the rebounding edge with their height on the inside.
   Brett Humphreys collected four and Dustin Tolley one to finish out the Rebels scoring.
   Girls
   Unaka...................................27
   Range...................................19
  
The Lady Rebels of Range surprised the Jr. Lady Rangers by taking a 15-13 halftime lead, but faced an uphill battle as their leading scorer, Kristy Moffitt, picked up her fifth foul early in the second half.
   Tiffany Babb used her superior height advantage to score at will on the inside as she pumped in a game-high 16 points for the Lady Rangers. She also collected no less than 6 blocked shots plus numerous rebounds on the evening.
   Jacklyn Campbell and Tara Potter provided an excellent supporting cast for the Jr. Lady Rangers, netting six and five points respectively.
   The Rangers regrouped at half and outscored the Lady Rebels 14-4 in the second stanza to take the 12-point victory.
   Moffitt finished the evening with 11 points, including a trey. Britny Renner contributed three points for the Lady Rebels, while Michelle Benfield and Lisa Moon picked up a bucket each. Tina Adcot added one point to close out the scoring for Range.