'Landers fend off Seahawks

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR CORRESPONDENT

   The Cedarview Seahawks came into Sonny Smith Gymnasium on Monday night with one thing on their minds: upset.
   Holding a lead throughout the game, it appeared as if Cedarview would come away with the big upset, but it was not to be, as the Cloudland Highlanders showed up in the fourth quarter, hitting some clutch free throws to take a 64-55 win.
   "As a team, tonight we weren't prepared mentally in the first half," said Cloudland coach Ned Smith, "We got down early because we weren't ready, but they came back at the end and made some good free throws with some good defense in the last four minutes to take it."
   Cloudland didn't play their 'A-game' last night, as only six players scored on the evening. Cedarview played a complete team game, but were outgunned by the Cloudland athletes.
   "We played well tonight," said Cedarview coach Tim Strickland. "Down the stretch our inability to put the ball in the basket hurt us."
   "They didn't shoot well the whole game until it got down to clutch time. We had a few crucial turnovers that were crucial, and their big play from their posts let them do what they had to beat us."
   The first quarter opened up as a tight ballgame, as Kevin and Kyle Jones battled it out with Cedarview's Dustin Jessee. Crucial play by Jessee, who led the game with 24 points, allowed Cedarview to take the 'Landers 17-15 after one, and 32-26 at the end of the first half.
   It appeared after the first half that it was going to be a long night for Cloudland, as Stephen Steffey and Jeremy Dorton helped lead a Cedarview charge. But the Highlanders came out in the second ready to play.
   "After a few miscalls from the refs we really stepped it up," said Kyle Jones, "We learned a crucial lesson not to overlook anyone, cause we could be in this situation again."
   After a crucial third-quarter performance from Robbie Tolley, Cloudland got within one going into the fourth.
   "Coach Smith told me that he needed me to make some plays," said Robbie Tolley. "I was able to get some inside looks and it helped us in the long run."
   Cloudland went into the fourth and took a lead, as Rick Whitehead opened it up for Cloudland with two straight buckets. Fouls from Cedarview sent Whitehead to the line with a minute remaining, where Whitehead sank the shots that would win the game.
   "I came out to a bad start this year," said Whitehead, "We came out tonight to a bad start, and showed up in the last quarter. The team as a whole stepped it up a notch and we hit our free throws."
   Kevin and Kyle Jones nailed crucial shots as well, as Cloudland took a 64-55 win.
   "We came into the game a little cocky," said Kevin Jones. "But in the fourth we got great rebounds and got it done."
   Kyle Jones led Cloudland with 16 points. Rick Whitehead, Kevin Jones and Robbie Tolley added 14, 12, and 13 respectively.
   Lady Highlanders 60
   Lady Seahawks 39
   The girls game was a different story, as Tara Hanson's 21-point effort led the Cloudland Lady Landers to a dominant 60-39 win over the Cedarview Lady Seahawks.
   "We didn't play real well," said Lady Lander coach Matt Birchfield. "They played better than we did tonight. We struggled from the field, but Tara carried us tonight. We need that out of her."
   Good defense from the 'Landers led to a big 30-14 lead a the half. The second half was more of an offensive performance as the team shot well all around taking the win.
   Brittany Wells led Cedarview with 12 points, and Anna Hunt added 11 for the Lady Seahawks.