Jr. 'Landers dispose of Johnson Co.

By Wes Holtsclaw

   THE UNAKAN TUNDRA - Four teams etched their way to their championship games, while four other teams had their middle school season ended at Snavely Gymnasium last night.
   In large school play, the Cloudland Junior Highlanders overwhelmed the Johnson County Longhorns with a 44-25 victory, while the Happy Valley Lady Warriors ousted the Lady Horns 44-35.
   The small school contests were much closer, as the Unaka Elementary Lady Rangers shot past Central 30-26, while the Central Comet boys sprang past Keenburg 49-40.
   Cloudland 44
   Johnson County 25
   The Longhorns took advantage of this contest early with an 8-7 lead going into the second quarter; however, the rest of the game was painted in blue and gold.
   Cloudland opened up behind solid inside play from Cody Hughes and Jonathan Tolley to take a big victory over Johnson County.
   "We played hard and did a better job of rebounding," said Cloudland coach Mike Lunsford. "We didn't have as many turnovers but we got more assists and that makes people better. Our bench played well and did a good job.
   "Rodney Hill's improved inside for us on defense, he did good inside. We just made crucial shots at crucial times, that's what sets winners for you."
   Johnson County had a solid shooting game from Robbie Moody and Jesse Gilbert, but outside shots from Cloudland's Michael Lunsford and Dustin Calhoun pushed the Junior Highlanders further.
   Jordan Johnson and Logan Buck gave some good minutes for Cloudland, and did a good job of countering the Horns' Josh Jarvis and Anthony Yoggerst.
   Perhaps the biggest statement made by Cloudland was on defense, only allowing a good Johnson County team nine points of offense in their 44-25 victory.
   "We played well," said 'Lander guard Dustin Calhoun. "We could've shot better outside. But if we play like we did tonight, we can have a chance on Thursday."
   Gilbert led all scorers with 13 for Johnson County, while Cloudland's Lunsford, Tolley and Cody Hughes had 10 apiece.
   Said Cody Hughes: "We just gotta play well and practice hard these next couple of days and we could win it. We did very good tonight, Johnson County played us hard and our posts played good."
   Cloudland advances to face the winner of Wednesday's Happy Valley/Hampton game in the championship on Thursday.
   Happy Valley (girls) 44
   Johnson County 35
   In what was an exciting early contest, Kechia Eller and Crystal Watson had the Lady Longhorns in position for a good run throughout the game.
   However, Samantha Canter along with a good inside effort pushed Happy Valley over the top in their 44-35 victory.
   "We shot the ball well in the first quarter, but our defense shut them down," said Happy Valley coach Dana Hill. "Their post hurt us at home, but Hannah (Banks), Ashley (Sluder), Jennifer (Black) and Emily (Good) fronted them up good inside.
   "As a team we played really well and together more. We weren't selfish and our bench was vocal. But you've got to give credit to Johnson County, April McCloud is a tremendous athlete, they've got a good team."
   April McCloud was a big reason the score was close for Johnson County, and keyed a big comeback run with Jill South. But Chelsi Whitlock and Hannah Banks led the Lady Warriors to two strong offensive periods that helped them key in on the victory.
   "I think Dana does a good job over there," said Johnson County coach Steve Nave. "They played good defense. We couldn't get into our offense because they played very aggressive and we weren't used to that.
   "But we played hard, but we missed a lot of free throws and that can cost you the game sometimes."
   Happy Valley will play the Hunter/Cloudland winner on Thursday.
   Central 49
   Keenburg 40
   It was the attack of the Moores, from both sides.
   In a game that went down to the wire, double-digit games from Central's Matt and Josh Moore out gunned Keenburg's Josh Moore and Daniel Gardner in a 49-40 shootout in favor of the Comets.
   Central had solid outings to begin the game out of Josh Moore, Caleb Johnson and Nick Sanders as they took a ten-point edge over the Tigers.
   Keenburg rallied back behind Cody Marley and Josh Hardin, coming within four points going into the second half.
   However, Matt Moore pulled out a tough 18 points for the Comets as they overwhelmed the Tigers late en route to their victory.
   Josh Moore had 11 points for Central, while Josh Moore had 10 for Keenburg.
   Unaka (girls) 30
   Central 26
   Despite an eleven point effort from Billie Campbell along with strong efforts from Ashley McWalters and Whitney Phillips, the Central Lady Comets fell to the Unaka Lady Rangers.
   Stephanie Kernan and Jacklyn Campbell both tallied nine a piece for Unaka, as they rallied to win the contest late.
   Tessa Lunceford posted a solid game for the Lady Rangers, while Emily Bradley played strong for Central.