Lady 'Horns fall to East

By Matt Hill

   BLUFF CITY--Paying to see Sullivan East Lady Patriot star Katie O' Dell play basketball is like eating a New York strip.
   It's worth every penny.
   O'Dell broke the school record for most points scored in a career Friday night en route to leading the Lady Patriots to a convincing 56-31 victory over the Johnson County Lady Longhorns at the Patriot Palace.
   O'Dell scored 26 on the night, but her basket at the 5:45 mark of the second quarter put her in the record books.
   "Katie's a great player," Sullivan East head coach Mickey Forrester said. "I'm just really glad she was able to get the school record because she's worked for it. She's given us four really hard-working years. The school record now is going to be pretty hard to break."
   The old record was 1,912 set by former Milligan College standout Becky Sells.
   "I think it's really an honor to break the record of Becky Sells," O'Dell said. "She was a four-time All-American at Milligan. It's just unreal. I wouldn't have gotten this far without God, my parents and my teammates. I owe the honor to them. My teammates are the reason I got all those points."
   The post player was very happy to get the record, but she wants to put it behind her after this weekend.
   "Coach Forrester always tells us if you're still hung up on what you did yesterday, you haven't done anything today," O'Dell said. I might celebrate it today, but come tomorrow, we're going to work on bigger and better things."
   But O' Dell will cherish this record, and she hopes her name will remain etched in history for many years to come.
   "I hope it stays here for a long time," O' Dell said. "But you never know, little girls are being brought up today to play some basketball. I'll be lucky if it's still there about twenty years from now."
   O' Dell needed eight points going into the contest to set the record, so Johnson County head coach Eric Crabtree felt good that it took her until the second quarter to break the mark.
   "We at least made her work for it in the first half," Crabtree said. "At least it took her until the second quarter before she broke it. She's very, very talented."
   As for the game itself, the Lady Longhorns played good defense in the first half, as they were only down 13-10 with 6:13 to go before halftime.
   But the Longhorns struggled from the field, and the Patriots used that to propel them to an 11-0 run to end the half. It was 24-10 going into the locker room, and the Longhorns never recovered.
   "We can't find our rhythm," Crabtree said. "We just need to be more patient. We had our open looks tonight. The girls I look to take those threes took the threes, they just weren't falling. But at times tonight I thought we played well. In the first half I didn't think East shot great, but in the second half I thought East shot really well."
   Jessica Townsend led the Lady Longhorns in scoring with nine, while Andrea McQueen tallied seven.
   Courtney Shaw also scored seven, and ran a very smooth game from the point.
   *This was Johnson County's season opener. The Lady Longhorns hadn't played since the Watauga Conference Jamboree, which was held 19 days ago.