Cyclones unable to slay Dragons in OT

By Ivan Sanders
STAR CORRESPONDENT
isanders@starhq.com

   It was a game where each team had a different story for the current basketball season. For Elizabethton, it has been a year where they have been able to dominate the teams they've faced for the most part while Clinton has been trying to regain some footing after loosing three key players with one moving to Texas, one injured, and one dismissed from the team.
   On Saturday night at A.L. Treadway Gymnasium, Clinton may have finally gotten the boost they needed as they overcame a superb second half performance by the Cyclones to take a 68-67 win in overtime to run their season mark to 4-9 while the Cyclones dropped only their third loss with a 11-3 overall mark.
   "Anytime you can win a game at Elizabethton, it's a great moral victory," stated Dragon head coach Chris Lockard. "My team needed this to regain some confidence with the loss of three top-notch guys and especially since we have struggled in the win-lose column."
   It was an early struggle for the Cyclones as they tried to adjust to playing without their big man, Vince Redd, who was on a visit to Arkansas. The taller Dragons appeared to have things their way early as they were able to edge out to a 11-9 lead after one quarter of action.
   The Cyclones adjusted to their personnel and managed to take their first lead, 24-23 with 1:58 left in the half. Elizabethton actually extended their advantage to four, but that was before Jerel Beamon took his team on his shoulders and nailed a three-point shot on the Dragons side of half court to push Clinton back to a 28-26 as time expired in the half.
   "We've played four games this week and the guys are tired plus they had to adjust to playing without Vince being there as a go-to guy," stated Cyclone head coach Tony Hardin. "I thought we played hard and we had a chance to win, but things just didn't go our way there in the end."
   Jordan Lambert paced the Cyclones in the half with seven followed by six points from B.J. Miller with Brad Holtsclaw adding four. Travis Borum nailed 10 points while Beamon added nine to show the way for the Dragons.
   Elizabethton came out of the locker room playing inspired basketball in the third quarter as Lambert got hotter than Marshal Dillon's six shooter in nailing three straight treys along with a deuce to turn a two point deficit into a 51-42 advantage for EHS at the end of the third. Phillip Garland had another strong performance offensively off the bench to contribute with five in the Cyclones 25 point scoring spree.
   The weariness began to show on Elizabethton in the fourth as the Cyclones couldn't seem to buy a bucket that enabled the Dragons to go on a 17-8 run that eventually sent the game to the extra period. The Cyclones had an opportunity for victory at the buzzer as Lambert's short jumper rolled off the back of the rim and Holtsclaw's rebound and putback tickled the rim as the horn sounded.
   Beamon was determined to lead the Dragons to victory as the senior point guard scored five points in the extra session. Just like a snap-shot reminder, the Cyclones again had an opportunity to win the basketball game as Walter Brown's open jumper in the lane once again bounced off the back side of the rim into the hands of Beamon who was fouled with :01 seconds left in OT.
   Uncharacteristic to Beamon, who is normally a 89 percent free-throw shooter, he missed the two free throws that could have extended the lead to three. The Cyclones attempted to inbound the ball down to their end of the court for a potential game-winner, but the pass went sailing awry and gave possession to the Dragons who ran out the clock.
   Lambert finished with 21 points to lead the Cyclones with Miller, who scored six in OT, close behind with 16. Another player who gets little recognition for his hard work on the boards and the floor, senior Brad Holtsclaw, finished with a strong offensive night collecting 10.
   "I just go out and do my job," stated Holtsclaw. " I want to show that I can offer a lot more than just being a rebounder and I felt like I did that tonight."
   Added Lambert: "We are awfully tired after playing four tough games this week. Hopefully we can get rested and be ready to get back in the win column."
   Beamon was game-high scorer as the young man blistered the cotton to the tune of 28 points to carry Clinton. Borum closed out his night with 16 for the Dragons.
   "Jerel is that type of kid," said Lockard. "He really wanted this game badly tonight and it showed in his performance."
   The Cyclones will get another crack against the Dragons in Knoxville at season's end, but must now get their legs back under them and prepare for a showdown with conference foe Hampton in the Doghouse on Tuesday night and then entertain another conference opponent, Volunteer, at home Friday.