Connie Allen is looking for more consistency from her Johnstown-Monroe High School girls basketball team.

Connie Allen is looking for more consistency from her Johnstown-Monroe High School girls basketball team.

The Johnnies erased an 11-point halftime deficit but came up short to Utica 45-39 on Jan. 25 in an MBC game.

"We did a great job coming back from an 11-point deficit in the third quarter, and that was good. I told them, 'You can't get it all back at once. You have to claw back,'" said Allen, whose team was 3-13 overall and 2-8 in the MBC before playing Northridge on Jan. 29. "I thought we had played better and played well for almost a full game, but we gave some key baskets to them and had some turnovers at the end."

Allen said her team plays well for stretches but suffers costly breakdowns.

"We struggle in spurts. We had a good overall showing (against Utica), but we can get better," she said. "The biggest thing they need to do is be consistent for more quarters. I thought we had stepped it up defensively. We just have to be more consistent."

That inconsistency led to three consecutive losses before playing Northridge.

"We need to keep our composure and I told the upperclassmen that they were the ones who needed to stay composed. We need people to step up," Allen said. "We need people to play with consistency. They have up and down games. When we get consistency, we'll be fine."

Johnstown closes league play Thursday, Feb. 3, at Loudonville, Saturday, Feb. 5, at Fredricktown and Feb. 12 at home against Centerburg. In the first round of MBC play, Loudonville won 40-30 on Dec. 14, Fredericktown won 43-36 on Jan. 6 and Centerburg won 59-43 on Jan. 8.

Through 16 games, Holly Sammons led the Johnnies in scoring with 7.4 points per game followed closely by Sarah Thomas (7.3 ppg), Laiken Valentine (7.2 ppg) and Natalie Carpenter. Makenzie Spang averaged 7.1 rebounds per game and Lydia Ulry added 5.2 rebounds per game.

•The boys basketball team was 4-9 overall before playing East Knox on Jan. 28.

On Jan. 25, the Johnnies lost 53-44 to Utica as the team once again had a slow start.

"We came out flat against Danville (64-53 loss on Jan. 21) and again (against Utica)," coach Kevin Martin said. "We dug ourselves into a whole in the first quarter, we were 12 points down (17-5) and we lose by nine. We tied them in the second quarter and outscored them in both quarters of the second half (10-9 and 20-18)."

Martin said he had no explanation for the slow starts, but knows it's something his team can't allow to become a habit.

"We are on different pages," Martin said. "We have two guys out there doing the right things to execute the plays and three guys who aren't."

Junior guard Matt Smith led the Johnnies through 13 games with 18.9 points per game, including 23.8 in his previous four contests. Senior Taylor Atwood was averaging 8.2 points and had 17 against Utica.

"Taylor has always played extremely hard. He's plays hard for 32 minutes on both ends of the floor," Martin said. "He doesn't give up on a play and that's something the younger kids can learn from. He plays every play like it's going to be his last."