Cyclones hammer down on Warriors

By Allen LaMountain

   One of these days the Elizabethton Cyclones are going to get cited for grand theft, but don't dare ask them to stop their thieving ways.
   Betsy stole the ball from the Happy Valley Warriors 20 times in forcing 32 turnovers as the Cyclones breezed to a 60-31 win on Friday night at Treadway Gym keeping EHS remained unbeaten in Watauga Conference play.
   Elizabethton improved to 10-0 in Watauga action and now stand 15-6 overall, while Happy Valley's up and down season continues with the Warriors standing 5-12, (3-8 conference).
   Cyclone guards B.J. Miller and Walter Brown will probably have their mug shots posted in the Warrior locker room as 'Most Wanted' since they were the biggest crooks of the night. Miller and Brown each recorded six takeaways.
   Miller also totaled a game-high 19 points and said of his team's efforts: "Our defense created a lot of scoring opportunities for ourselves. When we play the trap well it gives us a lot of lay-ups and gets us rolling on offense."
   The Cyclones were rolling from the get-go, holding the Warriors to just four first quarter points as 'Betsy raced to a 15-4 advantage after one stanza was in the books.
   By halftime, the Warriors were playing better, but were still unable to bridge the gap as EHS led 32-17 at the break. Miller had 12 points at the half, while Brown scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half.
   Happy Valley -- when they didn't turn the ball over -- shot a decent 6-of-14 (42.9 percent) from the floor and hit four-of-five from the charity stripe but couldn't overcome their sloppy ballhandling.
   "I think we must of set some kind of school record for mistakes tonight," said Warrior head coach Charlie Bayless. "(EHS') guards are so quick that we had no offense against their press. We just couldn't handle the ball."
   The Warriors suffered a setback when Jason Tittle went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter and did not return to action. Betsy led just 8-4 at the time Tittle went down.
   "When we lost Tittle that hurt a lot," continued Bayless. "The game was pretty close at that time, but we lacked patience."
   Cyclone center Vince Redd brought the home crowd to its feet with three acrobatic dunks off lob passes -- one of which was a reverse slam -- as he added nine points, seven boards and four steals to the EHS effort.
   "Tonight the defense was the difference," said EHS head coach Tony Hardin. "Happy Valley tried to slow it down, and that's their game, but our perimeter guys did a super job of defending the ball, which gave us a chance to get some steals."
   EHS opened the second half with a nine-point run to open up a 41-17 lead and the Warriors simply didn't have the outside shooting to come back from that large a deficit.
   "We couldn't get the ball inside on them because of Redd," said Bayless. "We needed to get penetration, but we just ended up throwing it away."
   Guard Lamar Rollins led the Warriors with eight points, while forward Chris Campbell added six and post Cody Cannon added four.
   Happy Valley...................37
   Sophomore guard Tanya Dykes scored a game-high 13 points, several of which came on long passes for layups as Betsy rolled to victory.
   On three inbounds plays the Lady Warriors bunched up to deny the inbound pass. Dykes would break from the pack and streak down the floor to take a long pass and score easily.
   "We work on that every day, because teams will try to man-press us, which leaves that play open," said Lady Cyclones head coach Mike Wilson. "Tanya is one of the quickest kids we have, so when the person guarding the inbound pass doubled anyone, we sent her deep."
   Senior post Beth Holtsclaw scored 13 as well and also took down five rebounds, but freshman Rikki Baughman was a force on the boards taking down a game-high 12 rebounds.
   Baughman added 11 points, but would have scored a lot more had she done better at the charity stripe. Baughman shot a disappointing five-of-11 from the line, but her efforts on defense and on the glass were a big factor in the win.
   "We were pretty embarrassed after the Unicoi game, and we challenged the kids to hit the boards better. They accepted the challenge," said Lady Cyclones head coach Mike Wilson, whose team improved to 12-4, (7-3 conference). "We told the kids that they would run two 'Death Valley's' for every rebound the other team out-did us by."
   The Betsy girls accepted that challenge as both teams took down 32 rebounds with senior post Brandi Morgan leading the Warriors with nine boards. Morgan also led the Warriors with 10 points.
   Both teams struggled offensively at the outset to an eight-all tie at the end of one quarter. Betsy pulled away a little bit as they went ahead 21-17 at the intermission.
   In the first period Happy Valley shot a dreadful one-of-11 from the floor, but were saved by solid free throw shooting as they knocked down all six charity stripe attempts.
   By halftime the Lady Warriors had improved their shooting, but not by much as they finished the first half with four-of-21 shooting (19 percent).
   Betsy blew the game open by scoring the first eight points of the third period to open a 28-17 advantage and EHS was not challenged from there as the Cyclones led 35-26 after three quarters.
   Happy Valley made a run in the fourth period as Mandy Byrd and Morgan tallied back-to-back buckets to close the Warriors to within 35-30, but Sarah Smith answered with a deuce for Betsy.
   Three straight layups by Dykes later in the period gave Elizabethton a 45-32 lead at the 3:56 mark of regulation. Happy Valley fell to 3-16 on the season (1-9 conference).