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Royals split series at Smokies Challenge

KNOXVILLE – The Johnson University Royals played in a series against Alice Lloyd College and Hiwassee College at the Tennessee Smokies Stadium in Kodak, March 12 and 13.

The Royals won their Tuesday game against Alice Lloyd College 4-1.

In Wednesday’s 3 p.m. game, the Royals fell to the Hiwassee Tigers 6-12.

Johnson’s Royals play a double-header against Piedmont University in Winston-Salem, N.C., March 16. The first game will start at 11 a.m. with the second game following.

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Royals basketball team ranked 3rd in nation, highest in JU history

KNOXVILLE Johnson University’s men’s basketball team finished this season earning the title of 3rd in the nation the highest title in Johnson history at the National Christian College Athletic Association DII Men’s Basketball National Championship in Greenville, SC, March 7-9.

The Royals played their first championship game against the #6 team, Trinity Baptist College, winning 76-60, on March 7.

On March 8, the team lost to the #2 team, Grace Christian University, 75-51.

The Royals played their final game of the season, March 9, against Maranatha Baptist University, to compete for third place. They succeeded in winning, beating MBU 101-86.

At an awards banquet earlier in the week, various members of the team were recipients of awards. Taylor Gilpin was awarded the Pete Maravich Award. Coby Jones was named one of the 1st Team All Americans. Seniors Taylor Gilpin, Kenton Gullion, and Brandon Toro were recipients of the Scholar-Athlete award. Gavin Grubb earned all-tournament honors, as well.

During the week of the championship, the team completed a community service project at a local food bank.

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Lady Royals finish 6th in nation at NCCAA DII Women’s Basketball National Championship

The Lady Royals brought home the title of 6th in the nation after competing in the National Christian College Athletic Association DII Women’s Basketball National Championship at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC.

The team, consisting of only six players, headed to Greenville after appearing on Channel 10 News for a short interview on March 4.

On Thursday, the Lady Royals played the 3rd ranked team in the nation, Randall University, and lost 66-67 on a shot made by their opponent with 7 seconds left on the clock.

They played again Friday morning against the host team, BJU, and lost 69-57. This final game left them ranked 6th in the nation.

“This week proved we could compete with the best…,” JU Women’s Basketball Head Coach Amy James said. “I truly believe everyone that had not seen these ladies play thought we had made it to the National Tournament by mistake, however, when we were finished playing both games we had everyone in the gym shaking their heads and saying, ‘I have never seen 6 players compete like they did’.”

At the National Championship awards banquet, Keisha McIntyre, Michaela Keele, and Taylor Thurman received Scholar-Athlete awards.

During their time at national championship week, the team completed a community service project of designing and illustrating placemats for the local Children’s Hospital.

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Royals Recap: first week of tennis includes 1st win and ARC home opener

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Photo By Johnson University Athletic Department

The Royals had an exciting week of tennis picking up their first win of the season as well as playing their first home match on the newly built ARC tennis courts.
The Royals opened up their first week of the first season traveling to Asheville, North Carolina to play Warren Wilson College. The Royals came out firing early scoring a couple of quick points with awin at the second position by Danielle Keehner and Madi Buchanan and the third position by Iris Loveday and Emily Allen, both by a score of 8-0. The Royals would have to fight for the final doubles point as Annalise McDonald and Hannah Hamm pulled away late to win 8-5.

The Royals continued their run on the singles court with Buchanan, Olive Anderson, and Allen took down their opponents without dropping a game. At the two spot, Keehner got down early but ended the match by winning 12 straight games to put her opponent away. The final win for the Royals was freshman Loveday picking up her first college singles win by a score of 6-2, 6-4.

On Saturday, the Royals were back in action but this time on the Johnson ARC tennis courts against Wittenberg College. In the first women’s tennis match ever played on Johnson’s campus, the Royals welcomed many fans for a good day of tennis. The pair of Buchanan and Keehner used the energy of the crowd and the new courts to play a handful of inspired points in big moments. Trading blows all the way to a tie-breaker, the pair both earned and fought off match points. In the end, the pair from Wittenberg were able to pull out the win.

Momentum would stay with Wittenberg throughout the beginning of singles. After falling in the first set 2-6, sophomore Olive Anderson would storm back in the 2nd set to blitz her opponent 6-0. Tied at a set apiece, Anderson and her opponent would trade shots and points in a 10-point tiebreak with neither player ever leading by more than 2 points. Both facing match points and earning match points, Anderson fought hard to the very end losing by a final count of 12-10. Though the Royals did not pick up any wins against Wittenberg, the Royals definitely held their own for their first match on their own courts.

Coach Hale explained the ups and downs of the week after the match saying, “Starting off the spring with a win is a great boost of confidence. We all played very well and everyone was able to get up early and execute our game plan. I was also very proud of how we fought on Saturday, though we lost some really tight heartbreakers, we fought to the very end and really embraced playing on campus with the support everyone behind us. This week has definitely laid the foundation for us to have a good season.”

The Royals return to the ARC on March 14th against Ferrum College.

 

Courtesy of johnsonroyals.com

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Royals Recap: Men’s Tennis picks up win and then begins play at ARC

Mens tennis

Photo courtesy of johnsonroyals.com

The Royals had an exciting week of tennis picking up their first win of the spring season as well as playing their first home match on the newly built ARC tennis courts.

After ending the fall season with a win against cross-town rival Maryville College, the Royals looked to get continue the momentum against Warren WIlson. The Royals got out to an early lead in the first tier but fell behind in the second. Using an aggressive playing style the tandem of Stephen Damon and Michael Rhodenbaugh put away their opponents on the top tier 8-2.

Taking a 2-1 lead into singles, the Royals easily rolled in three of the five matches. At the number one spot, Carson Byington jumped out to a quick first set lead 6-0 and continued to roll 6-2 in the second set. Two Royals also got their very first college win as Malachi Carr and Camden Rusch did not drop a game at the three spot and five spot, respectively. The Royals capped off the day with two highly competitive matches with Rhodenbaugh at the 2 spot and Riley Reinhardt at the 4. Rhodenbaugh was able to stage a comeback in the first set and squeak out a 7-5 win while Reinhardt would fall in a back and forth set, 6-4. In the end, Rhodenbaugh was able to put away his opponent while Reinhardt dropped the second in similar back and forth fashion.

On Saturday, the Royals were back in action but this time on the Johnson ARC tennis courts against Wittenberg College. The Royals inaugural home match started off rough as the Wittenberg Tigers got off to quick starts on all three doubles courts with the only pair that was able to take a game was the pair of Dalton Sauer and Caleb Weaver. Despite fighting hard, the Royals would eventually be swept by a score of 9-0.

Coach Hale explained the ups and downs of the week after the match saying, “Starting off the spring with a win is a great boost of confidence. We all played very well and everyone was able to get up early and execute our game plan. I was also very proud of how we fought on Saturday, we fought to the very end and really embraced playing on campus with the support everyone behind us. This week has definitely laid the foundation for us to have a good season.”

The Royals return to the ARC on March 14th against Ferrum College.

 

Courtesy of johnsonroyals.com

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Royals Recap: Royals win Mid-East Region title

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Photo courtesy of johnsonroyals.com

The Johnson University Royals capped off the NCCAA DII Mid-East Regional Tournament at 3:30 on Saturday with a game against the Great Lakes Christian College Crusaders

The two teams have an almost identical play style and that was evident at many points in the game. The teams were neck and neck for the vast majority of game time, with 12 lead changes and 8 ties. With just over 8 minutes remaining, Johnson took their biggest lead of the half at 23-16. The Crusaders would battle on, though, going on a huge run that would see them to halftime with a lead of 40-32.

In the second half, the Royals were able to fight back through dogged determination and clutch baskets. With 9:00 left in the game, Johnson trailed the Crusaders by 10 points. From this point, Johnson would go on a 19-2 run highlighted by great team play and excellent defense. Six different Johnson players were able to contribute points during the run. Taylor Gilpin (SR/Bloomington, IN) hit two free throws with 24 seconds left to put Johnson up by 10 and out of reach of the Crusaders. The Royals went on to win, 84-78.

This is the first regional title for Johnson University since 2006, and first under Head Coach Brandon Perry. This was also the final basketball game scheduled to be played in the Philips-Welshimer Gymnasium.

The Johnson Players of the Game are Taylor Gilpin (17 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals) and Coby Jones (SO/Hampton, TN) (19 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals.) Both players were selected to the all-tournament team, and Coby Jones was the tournament MVP.

Coach Brandon Perry had a few comments after the game:

Coach Perry Interview

Many of the players agreed to interviews as well:

Brandon Toro (SR/Rome, GA) Interview

Cody McClain (SR/Hampton, TN) Interview

Dwayne Felder (SR/Mocksville, NC) Interview

Estiven Estacio (JR/Cali, Columbia) Interview

Gavin Grubb (FR/Bristol, TN) Interview

Taylor Gilpin Interview

 

 

Courtesy of johnsonroyals.com

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Royals Recap: Royals advance to Mid-East Regional Final

The Johnson Royals have advanced to the finals of the Mid-East Regional tournament with a win over #1 seeded Grace Christian University.

 

The Royals came into the game as the 4th seed in the tournament having already defeated the 5th seed Welch College. Both teams played with extreme intensity right from the opening tip. The Royals played some of their best basketball on both sides of the floor for the entire first half. Coby Jones (SO/Hampton, TN) was able to put up 16 points and gather 4 rebounds to lead Johnson in the first half. Even with this effort, the Tigers were able to keep up.

By halftime, the teams had matched each other almost perfectly. Johnson had 16 rebounds, 37 points, and gave up 8 turnovers. Welch had also given up 8 turnovers with 17 rebounds and 32 points. This 5-point lead for the Royals was the largest of the half for either team.

The second half continued to be high intensity with non-stop action at both ends of the floor. Until the 4-minute mark, the teams stayed within 5 points of one another. With 3:45 remaining in the game, Taylor Gilpin (SR/Bloomington, IN) drilled a three-point shot with an assist from Coby Jones and the Royals’ momentum took over. They went on an 11-0 run over the next 3 minutes to cap off the game. Though the Tigers tried until the very end, their efforts were no match for the play of the Royals.

The Johnson Player of the Game was Coby Jones. Jones recorded a team-leading 31 points, shooting 10-17 from the field and 4-9 from behind the arc. He also had 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. His 31 points put him into the One Thousand Point Club at Johnson in only his 3rd semester with the team. Coby agreed to an interview after the game:

Coby Jones Interview

Coach Perry also had a lot of positive things to say after the game:

Coach Perry Interview

 

Courtesy of johnsonroyals.com

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Royals Recap: Royals split snowy series at Asbury

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Photo courtesy of johnsonroyals.com

“How can you not be romantic about baseball?”

-Billy Beane (Moneyball, 2011)

The Johnson University Royals Baseball team split a double header at Asbury University in Wilmore, KY on Friday. Game 1 was tight throughout. The Royals fought with everything they had and Noah Malicoat (JR/Lake City, TN) pitched 4 innings with only 4 hits and 2 runs. The Royals’ defense kept the game close, but could not get runs across the plate. In the top of the 7th inning, Johnson loaded the bases with no outs, but the batting continued the struggle and all three runners were stranded. Final of Game 1 was 3-0.

Game 2 was a journey. The Royals opened the game strong by putting up a 3 spot in the top of the 1st inning behind a triple from Derrick Lay (FR/Knoxville, TN) and good situational hitting from Noah Malicoat, Chandler Viscardis (JR/Seymour, TN), and Dalton Pruitt (SR/Danville, VA). The Eagles bounced back in the bottom of the inning to score 2 runs. They then built on those two in the second inning to tie the game at 3 runs each.

Tyler Lopes (SO/Fort Myers, FL) entered the game for the Royals in the third inning to get out of a two bases jam. He continued to work for three full innings while only giving up one hit and recording three strikeouts. Said Lopes after the game, “I thought it went great. I was really fired up. It felt really good to go out there and help the team. I know we needed some momentum and, I’m happy I was able to help with that.” As well as the Royals played defense behind Lopes, the Eagles kept up, also holding the Royals to no runs.

In the sixth inning, Zach Wyatt (FR/Seymour, TN) took over on the mound for Johnson. Zach quickly dispatched the first two outs of the inning with strikeouts. After a close play at 3rd, the Royals believed that they were out of the inning. However, the Asbury coaches appealed the play and upon further discussion from the umpires, the call was reversed and the Royals were called back onto the field. This lit a fire under Johnson’s players and the momentum shifted their way for the remainder of the game. Zach Wyatt struck out the very next batter to get out of the inning.

At this point, the snow began to fall. After an uneventful 7th inning, the Royals took their turn at bat in extras. On the first pitch, Chandler Viscardis doubled down 3rd base line just past the glove of a diving fielder. Dalton Pruitt attempted to advance the runner with a bunt down the line to first, and beat out the throw for a single. After a wild pitch by the Asbury pitch, Viscardis scored to take the lead. Noah Malicoat then hit a two strike single to score Pruitt and put the Royals up by 2.

By the bottom of the 8th, the snow was falling hard. Zach Wyatt continued working through the close of the game by recording another three strikeouts to finish the win, bringing his total to eight strikeouts in three innings pitched.

“Our guys came out and played well. Minimized the errors and capitalized on big hits. Pitching has been phenomenal and I can’t give enough credit to (the pitchers) for coming out and shutting it down and getting us a big win today” said Assistant Coach Chase White. “This win is huge. We’ve been right on the brink of getting over the hurdle and I think this really did it for us.”

This game is not one that the Royals will soon forget.

The Johnson Player of the Game was Zach Wyatt for his 3.0 IP, 8 SO, 2 H, and his first collegiate win.

Recap courtesy of johnsonroyals.com

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Royals Recap: Royals conquer Suns in thriller

The Johnson Royals defeated the Johnson Suns in a thriller on Tuesday night.

When Johnson’s sister school comes to town, excitement comes with them. This was evident yet again on Tuesday. From the tip, the game was played fast and loose. Both teams came out of the gates firing on all cylinders with very high energy. The first half was tightly contested and neither team led by more than 10 points throughout. The Royals took off with the early lead entering the half ahead by 5 at 49-44. 

The second half saw a Suns comeback and plenty of action. Both teams played physical and there were a total of 54 fouls were called throughout the game: 36 against the Suns and 18 against the Royals. Because of all of these fouls, the Royals scored 44 pts. from the free throw line in 52 attempts. When the Suns took a 6 point lead with just under 3 minutes, the Royals stepped up to the challenge. Taylor Gilpin (SR/Bloomington, IN) hit a free throw with 1.5 seconds left on the clock to tie the game and force overtime. Once overtime began, the Royals took charge. They got off to an early lead and never looked back, winning the game with a final score of 120-109.

Taylor Gilpin led the team to the victory with 48 points! 28 of these 48 came from the free throw line. That is a career high for Gilpin and moves him into 2nd on the all-time scoring list for Johnson University; behind only John Parkey. Gilpin also had 3 assists and 2 steals. Other notables are Coby Jones(SO/Hampton, TN), who had 25 points and 12 rebounds in his 39 minutes and Estiven Estacio (JR/Cali, Columbia) who had 13 rebounds and 3 blocks. 

Courtesy of johnsonroyals.com

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Gilpin enters JU record books

KNOXVILLE   On Jan. 22, Johnson University senior Taylor Gilpin scored his 2,000th  point of his college basketball career.

This was a big accomplishment for Gilpin, who only scored 100 points during his high school career.

“I’ve been averaging 18 points a game, so I knew I’d be on pace for it, and I felt pretty good about it coming into the game,” Gilpin said. “I was confident I’d get it today.”

gilpin.png

Brandon Perry and Taylor Gilpin after Tuesday night’s game

Gilpin attributes all of his accomplishments thus far to God.

“It was crazy,” Gilpin said. “I mean, I couldn’t help but just thank God for all that He’s done. I came from high school, where I didn’t play very much…Going from 100 to 2,000 [points] in college, it’s just crazy to see all that God’s done. I can’t take any glory; it’s all been God. And I’m just super thankful for that, just the way He’s used me.”

Head Coach for the Johnson Royals men’s basketball team, Brandon Perry, is very proud of Gilpin’s accomplishments, including but not limited to this particular achievement.

“This marker is not really a definer of the type of player he is, but it’s an announcement to everyone else that says…‘oh my goodness, this guy is something special’,” Coach Perry said. “I’ve known it from day one, and for me to get to see that, to be a part of his life for four years   all this stuff from basketball, it’s great    but it’s the way that he loves my son and the way that he’s been a part of my family, the way he has led our team for four years. For him to score 2,000 was great, but all of that stuff is even better…He’s just been amazing. I don’t even know that I can say the right words.”

Gilpin is very grateful to everyone who has helped him reach this point in his career.

“I just wanna thank my team. It’s all my team that has allowed me to get here; they’ve been the ones that have pushed me, that have helped me get to this point, and that have encouraged me,” Gilpin said.

Gilpin also said that his family and his coach have played a major part in getting him to where he is today.

“My coach has just been awesome. He’s built confidence in me to be the player I’ve become,” Gilpin said. “My parents   my dad    he always spends time with me in the gym. Growing up, we’d spend countless hours just shooting hoops in the gym and in the driveway. My family, which is my team, and my coach have all been super amazing, and I’m thankful for them and having them in my life.”

Perry predicts that Gilpin still has great things ahead of him. He said if Gilpin has more games like Tuesday’s, he has the potential to push his way from being 5th in scoring to being 2nd .  If the team makes the national title game, Gilpin has a good shot at placing 1st.