MOUNTAIN CITY – The South Greene boys were able to overcome a slow start on Tuesday night to start a big week with an important 48-37 win on the road at Johnson County.
With the win the Rebels have secured a share of first-place in District 1-2A, but to take the top spot in the upcoming district tournament South Greene will have to beat Chuckey-Doak on Friday. Going into Friday’s action South Greene is 6-1 in league play while the Black Knights are 5-2, but Chuckey-Doak drew the tiebreaker in the preseason and should a tie in the standings occur the Knights will finish on top.
“We knew this was going to be a hard one, we knew they were good coming in, they just beat Chuckey-Doak,” South Greene coach Terry Hoese said. “They are a physical team. For us to hold on and fight back was really good. Friday night is for first place, and that is what we are focused on right now. I don’t want to have to play (Johnson County) again. On Friday we are going to see another big, physical team looking for revenge. It’s going to be tough to beat (Chuckey-Doak) again. We are going to have to play better than we did tonight to win this thing.”
It took South Greene almost seven minutes to score its first bucket on Tuesday, but the Rebels defense was stout and kept the Longhorns from running away despite the offensive woes. Jase Roderick broke the scoring drought with 3:12 left in the period when he put back his own miss. Despite the lack of offense Johnson County only led 6-2 at that point.
“Defensively I felt like we played pretty well,” Hoese said. “It’s hard to shoot over us, we have a 6’5” kid at the top of our zone, and our length helped us early. But later on we had to go small because of foul trouble, and my small lineup did a great job as well. When our shots weren’t falling we did a good job on the defensive glass to hold them to one shot.”
South Greene fell behind 9-2 when Dalton Robinson sank a triple for Johnson County, but in the final 22 seconds of the frame Cooper Kelley and Jase Roderick both sank three-pointers as South Greene swung in front at 10-9.
Neither team could figure out how to get much going on offense in the second quarter but Johnson County regained the lead at 13-10 after Skylar Lawson got a couple of buckets to fall in.
South Greene went in front at 14-13 when Kelley came down the baseline and rolled in a floater with 5:53 left in the half.
The teams combined for five points over the remainder of the second quarter and went to halftime tied at 16-16.
With 4:47 left in the third quarter South Greene grabbed the lead for good when it used a long possession to search for the right shot before Hunter Toth nailed a triple from the left wing to make it 21-18.
Toth pushed the Rebels’ lead to 26-20 when he drove through traffic and laid one off the glass while being fouled to earn three-points the hard way.
Playing through contact was something the Rebels had to handle all night as it seemed the Longhorns were intent on grabbing and bumping the Rebels wherever they were on the floor and whether or not they had the ball. The Longhorns were dinged for 16 fouls in the second half, but the Rebels kept a level head and used the whistles to pull away.
“Overall we kept our heads when we getting beat up at times. We lost our minds once or twice, (Hayden) Birdwell picked up fouls three and four in about four seconds because he got little frustrated, but outside of that the guys did what we needed them to do,” Hoese said. “Even our small kids did a good job of playing through some of that stuff.”
Johnson County was able to close the gap to 31-28 with 31 seconds left in the third period when he went high to score from the post.
Andrew Thornburg pushed South Greene’s advantage to 33-28 heading into the fourth quarter when he made a pair of charity tosses.
South Greene was able to break the game open with a five-point possession midway through the fourth quarter. Woody Hixson sank a triple from deep in the corner and while the ball was in the air Johnson County’s Lawson shoved Roderick in the back. Roderick made both free throws and pushed the advantage to 45-33.
Roderick led South Greene with 20 points on Tuesday while going 6-of-6 at the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.
The Rebels’ lead grew to 48-33 with 3:16 left to play when Roderick hit two more free ones.
The Longhorns scored the final four points on Tuesday, including a goal-tending call at the buzzer, but South Greene’s defense stayed tough down the stretch to secure the win.
Kelley was in double figures as well for the Rebels with 10 points. Sincox led Johnson County with 11 points.
South Greene 10 6 17 15 48
Johnson County 9 7 12 9 37
South Greene: Roderick 20, Kelley 10, Hixson 7, Toth 6, Thornburg 2, Marshall 2, Buckner 1
Johnson County: Simcox 11, Lawson 8, Robinson 6, Dickson 6, Pavusek 3, Jennings 2, Osborne 1
SOUTH GREENE 97, JOHNSON COUNTY 64
The South Greene girls put on an offensive showcase on Tuesday night at Johnson County in a 97-64 win, but coach Stephen Gregg did not feel his squad finished the game the right way and left Mountain City with a sour taste in his mouth.
What drew Gregg’s ire was in the final seconds his team forced up two three-pointers to try to extend the lead in a game that was all but over. Gregg had spent the better part of the previous two minutes running substitutes in and out of the game to try to milk the running clock without the ball in play.
“I’m glad to get a conference victory on the road, but we didn’t respect the game, and that kind of put a damper on things,” Gregg said. “We will correct that, but there was no need for that. And I don’t want to take away from our scoring output tonight. We had four in double digits, and we had career nights from a couple of them, and that was down two important players. You flirt with 100, that’s good, and I don’t want to take away from the good things we did, but we can learn from this.”
Unfortunately in Gregg’s mind the final minute overshadowed what was possibly the Lady Rebels’ best offensive performance of the year. The 97 points scored were a season high. Haley Susong sank eight three-pointers and scored a career best 37 points with six assists and six rebounds, while Ryleigh Gregg put in a career-high 26 points to go with six steals on defense.
“Haley was playing confidence tonight,” Gregg said. “She saw a couple of shots fall early to get ger going, and then the girls were trying get her the open shots. She was our lone senior out there tonight. This will be a game she remembers for several reasons.”
The long-range shots started falling early for Susong and less than two minutes into the contest she hit from deep twice to give the Lady Rebels an 8-3 lead.
Hailey Brooks then scored on a trio of layups to give the Lady Rebels an 18-7 advantage.
Madison Hensely added five points and South Greene led 29-15 after one quarter of action.
In the early portion of the second quarter Gregg scored six points, but Johnson County kept pace with three-pointers from Brookanna Hutchins and Desirea Robinson.
With 5:45 left in the period Brooks was able to swipe possession at midcourt and take it the other way for two points and a 39-23 lead.
Over the next two minutes Susong sank a pair of triples and Hensley found her cutting down the baseline for a layup that put South Greene in front 47-28.
Hensley then sent South Greene into halftime with a 55-38 lead when Susong found her ahead of the Lady Longhorns’ press for what turned into an old-fashioned-three-point play.
Two seconds into the second half Aubree Glenn got three points the hard way for the Lady Longhorns.
Susong then got South Greene rolling with a corner trey, and before the ball got back to the meridian Gregg stole possession and turned it into two more points.
Gregg stole the ball two more times, once scoring herself and on the other she set up Susong for a one-point trip to the charity stripe. Between the steals Hensley hit from deep as South Greene gained a 69-43 lead.
Susong hit from behind the arc three more times in a 1:45 stretch to put South Greene in front 78-49 with 2:15 left in the third quarter. As a team South Greene rained down 13 three-pointers on Tuesday.
The period closed with Gregg hitting a pair of toe-on-the-line twos before finishing a steal by Brooks for an 86-52 lead.
South Greene’s Natalie Foshie started the fourth quarter with a three-pointer and Johnson County’s Aubrie Baird answered with a trey of her own.
South Greene’s biggest lead came at 92-55 when Kaydence Marshall put back a miss with 5:06 left to play.
Hensley finished the night with 15 points, six assist, five rebounds and four steals for the Lady Rebels. Brooks put in 11 points, dished 11 assists to go with four rebounds and three steals. As a team South Greene had 34 assists on 39 made field goals.
Hutchins scored 21 points for Johnson County and Robinson scored 13 points.
The Lady Rebels now look ahead to a big meeting with Chuckey-Doak on Friday. The Lady Rebels are 7-0 in league play and the Lady Knights are 6-1. The winner of Friday’s contest will take the top seed in the District 1-2A Tournament.
Johnson County 15 23 14 12 64
South Greene 29 26 31 11 97
Johnson County: Hutchins 21, Robinson 13, Baird 9 Gentry 8, Glenn 8, Green 3, Thompson 2
South Greene: Susong 37, Gregg 26, Hensey 15, Brooks 11, Foshie 5, Marshall 2, Hoese 1