BLUFF CITY — Outside the Patriot Palace on Friday night the weather couldn’t have been better, but inside the gym came a downpour.
The Lady Patriots rained six treys on the Lady Longhorns in the first period alone in a 71-53 victory over Johnson County and the boys hit 11 long range bombs in the Pats 70-49 win giving Sullivan East a sweep of the Longhorns.
The Lady Patriots hit on six-of-10 three pointers in the opening period to give East a 22-7 lead and stun the Lady ‘Horns. Sophomore sharpshooter Jamison Shaffer nailed three long distance shots and guard Savannah Summers hit two more to set Johnson County on its collective heels.
For the contest, East was 12-for-31 (38.7 percent) from long range.
“Six three’s in the first quarter is tough to overcome,” said Lady Longhorns head coach Todd Whittemore. “We tried to make it tough for Angel (Trent) but the other girls stepped up. Shaffer, I have to give her credit, we kind of dared the others to beat us and they did.”
The collective score of the final three quarters showed the competitiveness of the Lady Longhorns as East outscored the Johnson County five by just 49-46 the rest of the way, but the first quarter deluge was too much to overcome.
“I didn’t like the way we started,” said Whittemore. “They pressed us and we turned it over. It seemed like we just stood around and watched Brooke. We worked on rebounding a lot in practice this week, but obviously not enough.
“We gave up too many open looks. We wanted to limit them to one shot, but they are a senior laden team and had too many second chance shots.”
Johnson County (9-14, 3-6 Three Rivers Conference) shaved two points off the East lead going into halftime trailing 39-26, but senior guard Angel Trent opened the third period with three consecutive bombs to stake the Pats to a 48-26 advantage.
Trent finished with a game high 24 points for East (14-12, 5-4 TRC) with Shaffer adding 14 and Summers tossing in 13. Sarah Swift led the way for Johnson County with 17 points, while Brionna Reece had 15 and guard Brooke Brown tallied 12.
“First of all, I want to say this, Johnson County is tough as nails,” said Lady Patriots head coach Allan Aubrey. “It’s no fluke that they are winning games this year. Coach Whittemore has done a great job with them. I don’t want to play them in the tournament and I don’t think anyone else does either.
“I thought we played really well, and put a lot of pressure on them, but they never quit. We preached pressure and attack all week and I feel like we did that. We put 32 minutes of pressure on them and attacked the basket. That was our game plan, and it was a good one, but it’s only good because we have good players.”
Senior post Chance Davis scored 20 points and pulled down nine boards as the Patriots (19-7, 6-3 TRC) ended a short but devastating losing string.
As the ladies did, the Patriots opened with a big first period lead at 21-10 and never looked back as the ‘Horns lack of long range firepower was the deciding factor.
Austin Fleenor came off the Patriot bench in the second period and fired in three treys as East rolled to a 41-25 lead by the break despite 15 first half points from Longhorn wing Brian Dempsey.
East was red hot from range connecting on 11-of-19 (57.8 percent) for the contest.
Dempsey finished with 17 points to lead Johnson County (10-15, 1-8), while Ryan Mahala and Chase Kleine each finished with eight.
“(Fleenor) comes on in the second quarter and gets nine points on us real quick,” said Longhorns head coach Austin Atwood. “Their post hits a couple 30 footers and that’s 15 points right there that’s unaccounted for. Our effort was there, we just didn’t do a very good job of protecting the basketball early in the game.
“They are a different animal in this gym. They play really well here for sure, but we have to get better at handling the ball. That’s what got them their pressure and put the game away. I thought a couple of times Dusty (Stout) should have gotten to the free throw line on drives inside, but we didn’t get the call. Their length gives us a lot of problems as it does many teams.”
Fleenor finished with 13 for East, while guard David Cassaday was good for 11 and Jordan James hit three threes for his nine points.