Cyclones 'steal' one from Devils

By Allen LaMountain

   ERWIN -- When the Elizabethton Cyclones are playing well they are as tight as Mistikal's horn section, and with 'Betsy tallying 15 steals on the night Tuesday, the music was sweet indeed.
   EHS prevailed 73-49 as guard Lester Bailey collected five steals to go along with nine points, while forward Jordan Lambert led the Cyclones with 17 points as 'Betsy romped to a sweep of the Unicoi County Blue Devils.
   "We have been busting our tails off in practice, because we really needed this game," said Lambert, who got the offense jumpstarted in the first period with a pair of treys. "We had a couple games where we didn't play as well as we can, but tonight we played together and it was awesome."
   From the outset it was all Elizabethton as Unicoi County seemed to have difficulty bringing the ball up the court against the quick-trapping Cyclone defense.
   'Betsy raced to a 25-8 advantage after one quarter and extended to a halftime lead of 45-19.
   "Elizabethton is a very good basketball team," said Unicoi County head coach Scottie Whaley. "And by good I mean as good as there is in the conference. Maybe sub-state level. We just couldn't score and we had a lot of turnovers that hurt us."
   The Cyclones led by a count of 63-36 after three quarters as the Blue Devils didn't have any answer for Vince Redd and Eric Stout inside.
   Redd took down 10 boards and totaled 14 points on the night, while Stout -- coming off a career-high scoring night on Friday -- was good for 10 points and eight boards.
   But it was the defensive pressure of Bailey that signaled that this could be a rout early on as he was lightning quick on the double-teams that caused the Blue Devils so much trouble.
   "Our teams intensity in the first half was very good," commented Cyclone head coach Tony Hardin. "The defense is our bread and butter, and we did a good job of stepping out and giving them just one look. The bottom line for this game was the energy the guys brought to the court tonight."
   The fourth quarter saw both teams empty their respective benches, and guys like Adam Turley and Nathan Coffman took full advantage, with Turley and Coffman each scoring four points in the stanza.
   "I thought both Turley and Michael Porter both did a good job," said Hardin. "I thought tonight was Turley's best minutes since his injury. It's really good to say that we have more guys that can play."
   Unicoi County 63
   Elizabethton 46
   Someone forgot to tell the Lady Cyclones that part of basketball is boxing out your opponent. EHS paid the price for not heeding that lesson as the Lady Blue Devils romped to victory as Kim Anders scored game-highs in points and rebounds.
   Anders scored 15 points and was dominant off the glass with 11 boards (nine offensive) as Unicoi County out-rebounded EHS by a sound 33-19 tally.
   Unicoi practiced over the weekend on putting in some wrinkles against the Cyclones' matchup zone defense, and the changes worked to perfection as Anders and company found wide open lanes to the bucket on several occasions.
   "We had two real good days of practice coming into tonight," said assistant head coach Doyle Phipps, who has been coaching the team due to head coach Glen Fisher's family illnesses. "We shot very poorly against Volunteer, but we were getting after it in practice and I think it was the best two days of practice that we have had.
   "We knew EHS would play that matchup zone, and I felt that we could really hurt them with cutters, so I had Kim run the baseline."
   Those cutters saw open shots all night long as Unicoi was patient, yet played up-tempo and the Lady Cyclones fell behind quickly.
   Unicoi led 25-15 after one quarter and extended to a 38-25 advantage going into the break as Megan Headley scored 11 of her 12 points in the opening half.
   Anders led the Lady Devils to a 12-6 third period edge by scoring six points and taking down four offensive boards in the frame.
   "Both Unicoi and Sullivan Central did that (to us)," said Lady Cyclones head coach Mike Wilson. "In the first half they were just making every shot. They just outplayed us, and they beat us off the dribble. When that happens Beth (Holtsclaw) had to leave her player and that created rebound opportunities for them."
   Holtsclaw led the Cyclones with 12 points, while Rikki Baughman Tanya Dykes and Lacy Lane each scored 10 points on the night.