Late Icenhour free throw lifts ‘Horns over Cyclones, 50-49

Published 3:43 pm Monday, December 4, 2017

When fans filed out of Treadway Gymnasium Friday night, they could easily say they had gotten their money’s worth as the Johnson County Longhorn and Elizabethton Cyclone boys teams capped an exciting evening of basketball before the sparse crowd that was on hand.

The Longhorns managed to pull off the varsity sweep as Bud Icenhour hit 1-of-2 free throws with 9.2 seconds left to carry the boys from Mountain City to a 50-49 win over home-standing Cyclones.

“I haven’t been too good at the line this year, and all I was thinking about was knocking it down,” said Icenhour on his winning point. “I wish I could have hit both of those shots, but the main thing was to hit one and put us up.”

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The ‘Horns showed a little more polish on the night playing in their eighth game of the season to only the fourth contest for the Cyclones as Johnson County worked to a 27-23 lead at the intermission.

Icenhour drained three treys for nine points in the first 16 minutes of play while Blake Atwood tallied six to pace Johnson County.

Elizabethton fed off the play of Eric Wilson’s 13 first-half points to stay in contention. Freshman Parker Hughes registered five for the Cyclones.

The Cyclones came out of the locker room scrapping their way to bring the game even at 37-all after three periods of play as Evan Perkins caught fire swishing the nets for two treys and adding a deuce for eight points in the stanza.

Nico Ashley added four to lead the charge back for ‘Betsy.

Zach Eller knocked down five points for the ‘Horns.

With it being anybody’s game heading into the final quarter, it was a game of Rock’em-Sock’em robots as each team took its turn at grabbing a share of the lead until Icenhour sealed the win late.

Johnson County was able to make use of the fact they had only committed three fouls in the final half of play as they fouled the Cyclones twice with Elizabethton trying to work the basketball down the court in the final nine seconds of play.

A last-ditch shot by Wilson was off the mark as the ‘Horns celebrated the win.

“We didn’t play well the whole game,” said Longhorn coach Austin Atwood. “I felt like we didn’t shoot the ball well and didn’t defend well.

“Lucas did a good job of having his team ready and the Perkins kid really adds another dimension to them. I told our kids that to play poorly and win really speaks volumes about this team.”

Icenhour led the winners with 13 points in the contest while Atwood was nipping on his heels with 12 points. Eller added eight points while seven points each were added by Jordan Edes and Sean Lewis.

Elizabethton was led by Wilson’s 17 points with Perkins chipping in with 12 points. The Cyclones also got nine points apiece from Hughes and Ashley.

Cyclone head coach Lucas Honeycutt said the game really came down to youth and game-type experience that played most into the loss.

“It was just youth,” said Honeycutt. “At times, probably three or four times there were kids out there for their first game. You are surer about yourself after you get a few games under your belt.

“They followed a game plan and executed as well as they could at this point in time. A lot of kids shoot better than they did tonight. It could have gotten away from us, but we had some kids step up tonight.

“We played extremely hard and didn’t talk much about what we did wrong. We were extremely proud of our guys.”