Highlanders overpower Junior Bucs

By Wes Holtsclaw

   Just like the song from Green Day, the University High Jr. Bucs proved to be a "Basketcase," as the Cloudland Highlanders squeaked by them with a 61-52 victory at Smith Gymnasium on Tuesday night.
   The Highlanders shot a 15 of 25 from the free throw line, including eight critical buckets in the final period to oust the Jr. Bucs, after missing 22 critical inside shots on the evening.
   "I thought the kids came out hard and stayed focused," said Cloudland coach Ned Smith, "We did a good job of staying with our strategies, and contained their penetration. I thought they had a good, real athletic team. We just stepped it up and made the plays when we needed them."
   Cloudland (10-3) took an advantage from the beginning, with Mark Byrd nailing two critical three pointers to battle it out with Jermaine Lomans, who led the game with 14 points.
   Tight play from University High, to go with inside mishaps from the 'Landers helped the Jr. Bucs close a tight Cloudland lead to 18-14 after the first quarter.
   Cloudland stepped it up in the second, as six different players got on board. As Brandon Odom and Caleb Denton led a defensive charge taking a 30-23 lead into the half.
   University High wouldn't handle that for too long, as Matt Tillman and Brandon Bradley prevailed over a charge from Kevin and Kyle Jones, bouncing to a 42-42 lead going into the final showdown.
   The fourth quarter would be about unity, and control as University High took a lead and had an early shot at taking the game, however Rick Whitehead and Josh Johnson would lead a Cloudland charge that took a seven point lead.
   The Jr. Bucs fell apart, as Jabari Bowers was called for a technical and a foul, after he knocked down Mark Byrd and threw a shoe at the wall. Luckily, Byrd hit one of his shots, with Kevin Jones missing the two, keeping it a tight game.
   However, strong team play, and some clinching free throws from Byrd helped Cloudland hold onto a 61-52 lead at the end.
   "They beat us to a lot of good balls," said Jr. Buc coach Tony Gordon, "Their physical play bothered us, and at times we didn't respond well. Had three separate chances at the end, and only connected on one of them."
   Mark Byrd and Kyle Jones led the 'Landers with 13 and 11 points respectively. Brandon Bradley powered 10 for the Jr. Bucs.
   Girls Action
   Cloudland 65
   University High 33
   Just like the power ballad from heavy metal icon Axl Rose, the Cloudland Lady 'Landers showed a little 'Patience' in their 65-33 win over the University High Lady Bucs in early action Tuesday night.
   Dominating physical play, and incredible defense from Tara Hanson and Nikki Webb, along with the three point powering from Stachia Johnson led the Lady 'Landers to their win.
   "We played real well," said Cloudland coach Matt Birchfield, "We ran our press well and got a lot of turnovers. Holly (Blair) and Stachia played well. Nikki Webb did a good job in her start and had several boards."
   Cloudland (11-5) looked like a three point machine in the game, nailing six in the contest, to go along with the 24 turnovers forced on University High.
   Taukia Hughes (12 points) powered it out early making some crucial free throws, as Hanson (13 points) and Johnson (15 points) downed the Lady Bucs with their outside game.
   Beth Helmbrect (12 points) and Meredith Reardon (7 points) led University High in the game, but poor execution prevented them from making some moves.
   Cloudland blasted UH early, taking a 24-7 lead after the first quarter. But their third quarter execution prevented the Lady Bucs from making a run in the contest, as the Lady Landers held UH to only four points.
   Amanda McKinney and Holly Blair played good games as well to assist Amy Storie's inside game for Cloudland.
   Cloudland travels to North Greene for a Friday night conference showdown.
   Cloudland, 61-52
   Tillman 1 2, Conley 2 1-2 5, Lomans 6 14, Tillman 2 6,
   Williams 3 6, Bradley 3 4-6 10, Bowers 1 3-4 5, Kirwin 1 1-2 4.
   Denton 4 1-2 9, Ke Jones 3 2-4 8, Ky Jones 4 3-6 11,
   Byrd 4 3-5 13, Tolley 1 1-2 3, Whitehead 4 1-2 9, Odom 1 2-2 4, Johnson 1
   2-2 4.
   Cloudland 18 12 11 20 -- 61
   Univ. High 14 9 19 10 -- 52
   Three-point Goals: Cloudland 2 (Byrd 2), University High 5 (Lomans), Tillman (2), Kirwin.
   Turnovers: Cloudland 12. University High 13.
   Cloudland 65-33
   Hughes 3 6-6 12, Hanson 4 3-3 13, Hanson 3 7, Storie 4
   8, Johnson 6 15, Webb 2-5 2, McKinney 2 4, McGuire 1 2, Clawson 1 2.
   Me Reardon 3 1-1 7, Mo Reardon 2 2-4 6, Crowe 1 2, Shroeder 1 2, Mackley 1 2-4 4, Helmbrecht 4 4-9 12.
   Cloudland 24 15 15 11-- 65
   Univ. High 7 9 4 13 -- 33
   Three-point goals: Cloudland - Hanson (2), Johnson (3), Blair.
   Turnovers: Cloudland - 8. University High - 24.