KNOXVILLE – Tuesday the Johnson Royals men’s basketball team had their first home game of the season against the Bryan College Lions in the Phillips-Welshimer Building Gym.
The first official home game of the season tipped-off at 8 p.m., featuring an intense battle.
With 15 minutes left in the first half of the game, the Lions took the lead on the board with a score of 09-21.
Despite the score, the Royals remained motivated and quickly entered the double digits with 12 minutes left on the clock.
Throughout the game the audience could tell both teams desperately wanted the win.
With one minute left on the clock, the Royals’ Kenny White ended the first half by getting two free throw shots, making the score 35-52.
The crowd showed much support for the Royals and went all out for the game.
There was not a single moment the student body did not cheer on the team or encourage them.
Some spectators also had special signs that were made specifically for player 42, Gunner St. John.
His roommate Bennett Trainer had some positive remarks about the team.
“I’m really glad we started the new season and I’m looking forward to see what Coach Perry is going to do with the team,” he said. “I love number 42. He’s my roommate and we love cheering on the Royals.”
There were also shirts made to cheer on player 33, Taylor Gilpin.
Despite the score, the team remained motivated and encouraged each other throughout the game.
The determination the Royals had at the beginning of the game turned into pressure going into the second half of the game.
“The game is on point — our team is playing really well and I think the other team should watch out for us in the second half,” Jordan VandenHeuvel said.
Going into the second half, the team began to lose their motivation.
However, with five minutes left on the clock, Gunner St. John and Rickey Bowen both earned points for the team through free throws, leaving the score 58-89.
Women’s basketball players Whitney Moore and Hannah White also had some comments and advice for the team in the new season.
“Now that the first home game jitters are out of the way, the team can now focus on their shots following through,” Moore said.
“I think the team definitely needs to improve on taking better focused shots and their communication with each other,” said White.
The game concluded with the Royals losing 61-98.
“I think we can improve on our rebounding and overall just working together as a team to get each other an open shot,” Gilpen said.
Player 4, Trent Fleming, also had a positive outlook on the game.
“I think the team was a little nervous, but all we can do is just practice and prepare for the next game Saturday,” he said.
Both teams ended the game on a positive note by ending in a word of prayer together on the court.
The next men’s basketball home game will be against Bob Jones University on Saturday.