By Rick Sheek
MOUNTAIN CITY — Johnson County’s basketball team displayed impressive resiliency.
On a day when a player’s father was buried, the Longhorns slipped past Volunteer 50-45 in non-conference action on Thursday night at Ray Shoun Memorial Gymnasium.
“With everything that our kids have gone through, going to the funeral, it’s been tough on our guys,” Johnson County coach Austin Atwood said. “This group is pretty close. It’s been hard on those boys — for them to come out, have to battle and have to play a game like that…”
And step up Brian Dempsey did, after seeing his dad succumb to cancer. The junior forward delivered 15 points, nine rebounds and five steals to pace the Longhorns (7-5).
Dalton Timbs’ put-back propeled Johnson County ahead 44-43 with 2:35 remaining. Timbs cut down the baseline for a reverse layup, extending the cushion to 48-43 with 45 seconds left.
Johnson Co. 41
Sarah Swift’s 15 points paced the Lady Longhorns (2-6).
Johnson County also got 13 points and 10 rebounds from Brionna Reece. Brooke Brown hit 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
“I had been so proud of them lately, but I’m very disappointed tonight,” Johnson County coach Todd Whittemore said of his players. “Because we didn’t get it done. We had all of our key players in there, and they didn’t have theirs.
“I’m disappointed, but we’ve got to put it behind us and get ready for Unaka.”