Elizabethton too much for Falcons

   CHURCH HILL -- It was a hard-fought victory for the Elizabethton Cyclones on Tuesday night, as they held off a late-rallying Volunteer club by the final of 55-48.
   "I told my guys it was going to be a war. They're a good team, and I think the guys grew up a little by being able to withstand what they did by making some big plays at the end," said Elizabethton coach Tony Hardin.
   Volunteer took the opening tip, and a pass from Andrew Nelms to Ryan Marshall on the interior scored the first points of the game.
   The Cyclones first score came off a fast break led by Lester Bailey, who drove the ball in for the easy two, and managed to grab an 8-4 lead halfway through the first period when Walter Brown knocked the shot down inside the paint.
   The Falcons came back to tie it at eight when Dereck Smith received a pass for the layup from Ben Southam with 2:35 remaining.
   From that point the Cyclones went on a 6-0 run, with the quarter ending on an alley-oop pass to Vince Redd from B.J. Miller.
   Elizabethton pushed its lead to ten early in the second period after Michael Porter hit the base-line jumper, but the Falcons kept on clawing their way back into it.
   Volunteer had cut the lead down to 20-18 with 3:04 left until half-time when Marshall made the inside shot and drew the foul for the three-point play.
   The Cyclones managed to cling to a 24-20 lead by the end of the half, as they had been able to stay out front but not pull away.
   The game stayed relatively close throughout the third, with the Cyclones pushing the lead to nine after Miller sank a fifteen foot shot.
   By the end of the quarter is was a 39-32 Cyclone lead.
   "Defensively we changed up some things and did what we needed to do, and I thought we rebounded better in the second half also," said Hardin.
   It looked as if Elizabethton was well on the way to victory starting the fourth quarter, when the Cyclones matched their biggest lead of the night, which was a margin of eleven.
   Brown dribbled the ball down inside the paint, and drained a nice little eight-foot jumper.
   Brown led the Cylclones in scoring on the night with 14 despite battling a severely sprained ankle, while Marshall led the Falcons with 15.
   "My ankle is a little bit sore, but this was a big conference game on the road -- and you've got to be tough," said Brown.
   Volunteer wasn't finished right though, as the Falcons rattled off the next eight points of the contest to narrow the gap 46-43 with 1:55 left in regulation.
   A couple of key free-throws in the final minute from Miller proved to be all that the Cyclones needed to elude the scrapping Volunteer bunch.
   "I thought we battled back and fought hard, but they really hurt us by hitting those medium range jumpers," said Volunteer coach Todd Whittemore.
   Lady Cyclones 44
   Lady Falcons 33
   The Elizabethton Lady Cyclones stayed on the upswing with a solid win over the home team.
   "We handled the pressure well for we got the ball to the right people, and made a good little run toward the end," said Elizabethton coach Mike Wilson.
   In the first quarter, the Cyclones obtained a 13-8 advantage, which was led by Beth Holtsclaw who poured in six of her thirteen points on the evening.
   "I felt like I had an advantage, because I was bigger than the girls on Volunteer, and the guards were able to get it down into me," said Holtsclaw.
   Through the second period it was Rikki Baughman who stepped it up for the Cyclones, as she rebounded, made some passes, and rang up eight of the twelve points scored during the quarter.
   Baughman finished as the Cyclones top scorer with fifteen, while Meghan Arnold led the Falcons with nine.
   Elizabethton had a semi-comfortable lead by the half 25-10, as their defense held the Falcons to just one field goal throughout the second period.
   In the third, the Cyclones caught the bug that the Falcons had priory suffered with, as they only acquired one field-goal coming from Holtsclaw off a pass from Brandi Fairman.
   "We had some shots, but we just didn't make anything, and we came out flat," said Wilson.
   Volunteer had closed the deficit to 27-21, just trailing by six with one quarter left.
   Tanya Dykes hit the eight-foot jumper from the corner to start the fourth, and a three-point play from Holtsclaw gave the Cyclones a thirteen point lead with a little more than 4:00 left.
   Volunteer came up with some much needed buckets, and a three-pointer from Sarah Mullins pulled them within five with two minutes to play.
   But made free-throw shots at the end helped Elizabethton escape the last minute surge from the Falcons.