Lady Cyclones too much for North Greene

By Jeff Birchfield
STAR Staff

   BAILEYTON -- Sarah Smith's 20 points and six steals, and the athleticism of Elizabethton proved too much for North Greene as the Lady Cyclones took a 64-54 decision Monday night at the Huskies Den.
   Smith was a whirlwind for the Lady Cyclones, especially in the first half, when she tallied 16 points. In a two and a half minute span in the first quarter, three times Smith stole cross-court North Greene passes and scored on the other end with lay-ups.
   "We just tried to play hard on defense," said Smith. "Defense was pretty much the key. I was looking in their eyes at when they pulled the ball back. I was trying to find where they were going to throw it and to see if anyone was behind me.
   "Lacy (Lane), Jordan (Crowe) and I are seniors and we try to lead by example with our defense for the younger players. It was real important to get a win as we are playing three games this week."
   For Elizabethton, now 7-4 on the season, it was a nice rebound after losing a tough conference game to Sullivan Central last Friday night.
   "That was the way to bounce back," said EHS head coach Mike Wilson. "We needed to come out and play hard. We played hard defense, although we got in foul trouble early and had to go to a zone after that. We were pleased with our guard play tonight.
   "The only thing we did wrong was rushing down the court and shooting the ball, when we should have been taking some time off the clock. We didn't need to necessarily stall it, but we didn't need to come down and shoot it in five seconds.
   The Lady Cyclones took command of the game early going out on a 10-2 tear with three baskets by Rikki Baughman and two by Smith. After North Greene fought back to 18-12 at the end of the first quarter, EHS punched the lead out to 14 at the end of the half on a last second bucket by Lane.
   In the third quarter, Elizabethton put the game out of hand with a 15-2 run to end the period. Lane was a big factor in the stretch, scoring eight of her 14 point total, as was Baughman, who scored the last four of her 12 points.
   In the final quarter, only Tanya Dykes was able to slow down the Husky comeback with two timely baskets. Dykes had eight points and put together a tough defensive effort in the win.
   North Greene certainly didn't look like a 2-13 team, playing against a school three times their size. After Elizabethton pulled most of their starters in the final quarter, the Lady Huskies rallied from 23 points down to only 8. Their hard effort forced the Lady Cyclones to reinsert their starters in the game's final minute.
   "We fought hard and never gave up," commented NG head coach James Buchanan. "But, give Elizabethton all the credit. Granted they had some of their younger players in and I didn't pull our starters, but we came back on them a little bit.
   "I can't discredit my bunch either. They did play hard and made a good comeback. It's at a disadvantage to play against a bigger school in some ways, but we then we look at it as a good experience to play against good teams with athletic players."
   The Lady Huskies' main weapon in the counter assault came via the three-point shot. Trisha Penley sank four shots behind the arc and Haley Williams hit two, as they led North Greene with 18 points apiece. Chelsie Wright added another 14 for the Huskies, who face Cherokee tonight.
   The Lady Cyclones will also be back in action tonight, taking on county and Watauga Conference rival Hampton.
   In a junior varsity contest earlier in the night, EHS remained perfect on the season with a 57-26 win over the Lady Husky JV squad. Now standing 7-0, the Lady 'Clones were led by Abby Trivette and Takesha Avery with 13 and 10 points, respectively.