Cyclones slam door on Gate City

By Ivan Sanders

   Gate City, VA - Gate City is always a hard place to play basketball especially in the dungeon-like atmosphere of the Devils Den. Yet, by the time the Elizabethton Cyclones left town, the Cyclones had left a frigid feel in the Den after blowing through the host Blue Devils by the score of 61-35.
   Building a 36-11 halftime advantage, the Cyclones were able to get everyone into the game with 13 different EHS players registering points in the scoring ledger for the prime time showdown. For Cyclone Coach Tony Hardin, the game was a chance for his players to do a little schooling.
   "I was really pleased with the second five tonight because they played probably the best minutes of the season tonight as a unit especially in the second quarter," stated Hardin. "It was also great that a lot of people were able to put points on the board tonight against a very physical Gate City basketball team."
   Although 'Betsy began the first three minutes without a basket, it didn't take long to get the gears greased and rolling hard. By the end of the opening period, the Cyclones held a 20-7 edge thanks in part to five points each from Lester Bailey and B.J. Miller.
   Defensively, the Cyclones set a devilish snare in the second quarter as they held Gate City to only four points while reeling off 16 points more on their side of the scoreboard. The second team led by Walter Brown's six points and a great hustling effort by senior Phillip Garland in adding five points set the tone for the Cyclones.
   "We use games like this to help us get ready for our conference games," stated Bailey. "We just want to try and execute our offense and play good hard defense."
   The second half was an opportunity for Coach Hardin to clear his bench and give each player some prime playing time. Lacking a little on the offensive side, EHS made up for the lapse in scoring to continue tightening the clamps on the Devil's offensive effort.
   Demonstrating the offensive distribution for the Cyclones, Jordan Lambert was the only player in double-digit scoring as he hit for a game-high 11 points. Vince Redd was a menace on the interior as the big man blocked four Devil offerings while getting the crowd roused with a rim-bending slam plus the harm.
   Redd added 8 points on the evening as did Garland and Brown. Bailey and Miller contributed with five each while Charles Peters netted four. Six Cyclones scored a deuce each.
   Robert Clark showed the way for Gate City with a nine point tally. Everett Shephard added seven for Coach Greg Ervin's Blue Devils.
   For the Cyclones, Redd said this was an experience-gaining contest.
   "We don't get to see a man-to-man defense that much in our conference so this was a good experience for us," stated Redd. "We just wanted to work on being smarter and taking the good shots while being in a position for the rebound."
   In earlier action, the Cyclone freshman built a 20 point lead and held off a late charge by the Blue Devils frosh to take a 49-44 victory. Michael Rader led the Cyclone frosh on the night with 13 with teammate Derrick Nave chipping in with 10. Mike Rogers' 16 led the Devils charge with Matt Woods tossing in 11.
   The Cyclone junior varsity also took home a big win as they withstood a tight-fisted affair to register a hard fought 43-37 win. Keith Crawford, Charles Peters, and Jonathan Laing all ripped the nets for eight points to paved the way for EHS. Josh Kilgore tallied a big night as he collected 16 for Gate City.