Jr. 'Toppers turn away T.A. Dugger

By Ivan Sanders
STAR CORRESPONDENT
isanders@starhq.com

   The snowy weather is great for kids wanting to sleigh ride and have snowball fights, but when a basketball team cannot stay in a rhythm during the course of their season it's almost like having to start from day one for their coaches.
   In the eighth-grade game between T.A. Dugger and Science Hill on Tuesday evening, the statement above could have been easily proved as the Jr. Cyclones simply weren't able to keep up with the speedy Jr. Toppers, who ran away from the Jr. Cyclones on T.A. Dugger's home court by a score of 58-42.
   "We haven't been on the court since last week and the tiredness showed," said Jr. Cyclone coach James Jacobs. "I am really pleased though because the first game we trailed 21-5 at the half and tonight we were only down by six points."
   Indeed, T.A. Dugger hung tough in the early going as they only trailed 12-8 after the first six minutes. Austin Taylor collected four points in the quarter while Brent Shaver and Travis Bishop tallied a basket each. Daveon Rhyans led Indian Trail with six in the first period of play.
   The second quarter was an exciting six minutes of basketball as both teams resembled lightweights going toe-to-toe with Indian Trail sliding by in the period by outscoring the Jr. Cyclones 14-12. Emanuel Reid kept the edge for Indian Trail as he dumped in five in the quarter and nine in the half. Micah Collie also added five for IT in the period.
   Taylor once again paced the Cyclones with six points to finish the half with 10 while Preston Smith drove the paint effectively in totaling four points for TAD as well.
   The second half of action was where the legs started going for the Jr. Cyclones as Indian Trail applied a full-court press that wore TAD down in just getting the ball across midcourt. IT used the aggressive press to outscore the home team by an 18-6 margin in the period that pretty much salted away the victory.
   Reid went on a scoring spree in the period in burning the cotton for 8 points. Rhyans also aided the Jr. Toppers cause by inking four more points in his column. Bo Carter and Josh Pirtle with three points and two points respectively lead TAD in the low-scoring stanza for the Jr. Cyclones.
   Several fresh legs saw playing time in the final quarter as the benches emptied and the Cyclones outscored the Toppers 16-14 as a result. Smith led the scoring in the quarter with four for TAD while Reid added four more to his ledger.
   Reid finished as the game's high-scorer with 21. Rhyans finished with 12 for Indian Trail as well.
   Taylor led the Jr. Cyclones in scoring with 12 followed by Smith's 8 points. Carter contributed with five while Pirtle finished with four points. All but two of the Jr. Cyclones got in the scoring act.
   Winning coach Rusty Barnett was pleased with his team's output in staying unbeaten on the season.
   "Early on, you could tell our absence from the court came into play, but the second half was a much better half as for as out intensity went," said Barnett. "I thought Reid stepped up big as any big-time player should and I was really pleased with Daveon Rhyans' defensive effort and overall effort in general."
   7th Grade
   Indian Trail 49
   T.A. Dugger 24
   In seventh grade action, the Jr. Toppers used an aggressive press to force the Jr. Cyclones into numerous turnovers for easy baskets and take a big 25-point victory.
   Diante Grey led all scorers with 17 points with teammate Alex Jacobson chipping in with 12 points for the victors. Jake Peters paced the Jr. Cyclones with 9 points while Wendell Loving and Aaron Bradford each contributed with six points each.
   The difference of the game was the second half where Indian Trail outscored the Cyclones to the tune of 32-15.