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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Viola tops in shootout at Longhorn Corral

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Sports Editor

When the calendar turns to January, two things are bound to happen.

The days start to get longer, and the high school basketball season starts to get shorter, with every game taking on an added importance.

Take for example Viola's home contest with the Rural Special Rebels Jan. 16.

These two squads would scrap tooth-and-nail playing a game of checkers, much less a hardwood matchup with the 2A-North Conference title up for grabs.

Coming into the game with a conference record of 3-2, the Longhorns desperately needed to pin a loss on the Rebels, who entered the game unblemished in league play at 5-0, to keep pace with Rural Special in the battle for first in the conference.

And pin a loss on the Rebels they did, blasting Rural Special with an impressive third-period outburst, before finishing the game off from the foul line, with Viola (15-10) winning 66-54.

Rural Special (16-3), the fifth ranked team in Class A, got off to a quick start in the first period behind their squad of athletic players.

At times it looked like the Rebels' game plan was to toss the ball at the hoop, rebound it and stick it back in.

Using this philosophy, Rural Special crept out to an 8-4 lead before Brett Cotter responded for the Longhorns.

"They're such an athletic team," said Longhorn Head Coach Jeremy Lewis. "We When the calendar turns to January, two things are bound to happen.

The days start to get longer, and the high school basketball season starts to get shorter, with every game taking on an added importance.

Take for example Viola's home contest with the Rural Special Rebels Jan. 16.

These two squads would scrap tooth-and-nail playing a game of checkers, much less a hardwood matchup with the 2A-North Conference title up for grabs.

Coming into the game with a conference record of 3-2, the Longhorns desperately needed to pin a loss on the Rebels, who entered the game unblemished in league play at 5-0, to keep pace with Rural Special in the battle for first in the conference.

And pin a loss on the Rebels they did, blasting Rural Special with an impressive third-period outburst, before finishing the game off from the foul line, with Viola (15-10) winning 66-54.

Rural Special (16-3), the fifth ranked team in Class A, got off to a quick start in the first period behind their squad of athletic players.

At times it looked like the Rebels' game plan was to toss the ball at the hoop, rebound it and stick it back in.

Using this philosophy, Rural Special crept out to an 8-4 lead before Brett Cotter responded for the Longhorns.

"They're such an athletic team," said Longhorn Head Coach Jeremy Lewis. "We knew a big key to the game was going to be us keeping them off the offensive boards."

Cotter stuck a trey at the 50-second mark of the first period to pull Viola within one, at 8-7.

For the game, Cotter continued his hot play of late, nailing five 3-balls on his way to a team-high 20 points for the Horns.

The lead swapped sides seven times in the second period, with Rural Special playing like they were on pogo sticks, while the Longhorns worked the ball inside to Dustin "Big Country" Jones, a force the Rebels had no answer for on this night.

Trailing 25-20 late in the frame, Jones (17 points) tossed in a couple of hoops in the paint to draw Viola within one, at 25-24.

The Rebels ended the second with four straight points to take a 29-24 lead to halftime.

The third period was all Viola, as if thoughts of their 53-39 loss to Rural Special Nov. 14 fueled the Longhorns' drive.

Cotter busted two triples and logged eight points in a three-minute stretch to start the second half. Jones converted a traditional 3-point play. Cody Hutson (five points) drained a trey.

When the smoke cleared, Viola had peeled off the first 16 points of the third to grab a 40-29 lead.

All the Rebels could manage in the frame was two free throws from William Knapp, and a hoop by Justin Davis, with the Horns outscoring the Rebels 22-4 in the frame.

"That was a big stretch for us. Jones did a good job keeping Knapp out of the paint," Lewis said. "Our goal before every game is to hold our opponents to 10 offensive rebounds, and to limit our turnovers to 10 a game. We held them to 12 offensive boards, and we turned the ball over 10 times, so we were pretty much on target."

Going into the last period with a 46-33 advantage, the Longhorns had to figure the Rebels would make a run at the lead.

They were right. Rural Special did gather themselves a bit, making a late charge, but the Longhorns sealed the game from the charity stripe.

The Horns' last field goal of the game came at the 3:30 mark, courtesy of a Cotter bomb, but Viola sank 13 free throws in the final three minutes of the contest to emerge with a victory.

Dustin Shrable (15 points) nailed seven of those charity tosses as the Longhorns kept their conference hopes alive with the 12-point victory.

"We were 18-of-24 from the free throw line," Lewis said. "We haven't been shooting that well from the line, around 60 percent, but we got them to go in this game when we really needed to."

Cory Batterton added five points for Viola, while Justin Richardson finished with four.

On the girls' side of things, the Lady Rebels, ranked number seven in Class A, moved a step closer to the 2A-North crown by handing the Lady Longhorns a heartbreaking 48-47 loss.

Down by four points, 44-40, with 2:18 left in the game, Viola (15-7, 4-2) rallied back in front, 45-44, on a traditional 3-point play by Lindsey Barker (11 points) and a layup from Cayla Cotter (10 points).

After the Lady Rebels moved back on top, Melinda Guffey (seven points) tossed in Viola's last hoop of the game with 16 seconds left, staking the Lady Horns to a 47-46 lead.

The lead shifted sides for the final time as Rural Special hit a pair from the charity stipe to hold a 48-47 advantage.

Needing to go the length of the floor in 11 seconds, the Lady Horns did just that, but came up empty without a hoop as the final buzzer sounded, leaving Rural Special with a one-point win and an undefeated conference mark of 6-0.

The contest started in good fashion for Viola, with the Lady Longhorns moving the ball around, picking apart the Lady Rebels in the paint to take a 19-10 lead after the first period.

Despite posting just one field goal in the second period, a jumper from Jamie Dailey, and getting outscored 12-5 in the frame, the Lady Longhorns managed to take a 24-22 lead to the half.

Viola remained ahead for the duration of the third period, using two free throws late in the period from Barker, to hold a 32-30 lead going into the final frame.

A 3-pointer at the 5:50 mark of the fourth period completed the Lady Rebels' comeback, giving Rural Special their first lead of the night, 35-34.

This margin changed hands a couple of times inside the two-minute mark, before time ran out on the Lady Horns, with Rural Special leaving town with a tight one-point win.

Kyla Batterton tallied 11 points for Viola, while Chelsea Taylor finished with six.

The Lady Horns started the week off by traveling to Calico Rock and knocking off the Lady Pirates 44-39 in a non-conference matchup.

Cayla Cotter paced Viola with eight points, as the Lady Longhorn victory extended Calico Rock's (6-14) recent skid, with the Lady Pirates dropping 10 of their last 11 games.

Teegan Baumunk tallied seven for the Lady Horns, while Barker and Breeann Wray added six each.

Jessica Weems paced Calico Rock with seven, while Whitney Herron added six. Reannon Nave and Clarissa Speak finished with five apiece.

The Longhorns also picked up a victory at Calico Rock with a 62-39 win over the Pirates.

Jones led the way with 12 points, while Cotter and Ryan Walker logged nine points each. Shrable added eight, while Hutson hit for seven, with Kevin Painter and Batterton finishing with five each.

Scottie Sanders dropped in a team-high 15 for Calico Rock (5-16).



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