'Landers sweep past Tri-Cities Christian

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR Correspondent

   Just like the 90's alternative hit, when the Cloudland Highlanders (9-3) beat the Tri-Cities Christian Eagles (9-3), they proved 'It's All Been Done Before' with a 76-65 win in the Eagle's Nest.
   Coming into the game with a 9-2 record, the Tri-Cities Christian team was ranked among the top of the Tennessee Christian Schools Athletic Association, losing its first game to the Highlanders.
   Cloudland proved that teamwork and execution can prevail any time, as Cloudland caused 13 Eagle turnovers in the second half of play to make a dent on the Tri-Cities bench.
   "The key to the game was turnovers," said Highlander coach Ned Smith, "We upped our defense in the second half, and played good offense the whole game. It was a good night."
   Cloudland broke out early in the game, leading by 9-2 at one point, before Jack Blevins broke out scoring 12 of his game leading 18 points to help the Eagles tie Cloudland at 22-22 after one.
   The second quarter was a more balanced effort for both teams. Cloudland's Ricky Whitehead and Josh Johnson made some crucial shots to go along with Mark Byrd's crowd diving defensive antics, helping the 'Landers take a 44-41 lead at the end of the half.
   The third quarter was a basic repeat of the previous period. The Eagles' Hanor Rudd and Ben Blevins battled with the 'Jones boys' and Brandon Odom, with Cloudland prevailing 60-56 going into the grand finale.
   Whatever coach Smith told his boys seemed to help. Cloudland stepped it up on defense making play after play, with superb shooting from the Jones twins and Caleb Denton poaching the Eagles 76-65.
   Cloudland ended up having four players in double digits with Kevin Jones leading with 16. Ricky Whitehead, Caleb Denton, and Kyle Jones contributed 13, 12, and 11 respectively.
   Ben Blevins had 12 points to go along with Jack Blevins' 18.
   Lady Landers.......................87
   Lady Eagles.........................38
   In the earlier girls game, Tara Hanson's 21 point first half performance landed her a lead in the movie "She's All That," as the Lady Landers laid the smackdown on the Tri-Cities Christian Lady Eagles, 87-38.
   "We played well early," said Cloudland coach Matt Birchfield, "Tara's 21 in the first half gave us the good start we needed. We shot the ball well, especially from the line. That will win a lot of games. Amy Storie, Crystal Arnold, and Jessica McGuire played well tonight as well."
   It was a complete debacle from the beginning, as Hanson and Storie fired them all over the Lady Eagles, helping Cloudland (10-4) take a 28-9 lead after the first.
   Stachia Johnson and Taukia Hughes played tough defense and made some critical shots, allowing Cloudland to extend their lead even more with a 52-26 lead after the first half.
   The majority of the second half was a 'real slobberknocker,' as the Cloudland bench held Tri-Cities to only 12 points in the second half, as they bombarded the Lady Eagles with a 20-4 run in the fourth quarter taking an 87-38 win.
   Megan Sharpe led the Lady Eagles with 12 points. Amy Storie's 17 and Stachia Johnson's 10 also contributed to the Cloudland cause.