Elizabethton denies North

By Michelle Pope
KINGSPORT -- The Cyclones strutted their stuff on the court at Sullivan North, knocking the Raiders for a loop in both the boys' and girls' games Tuesday evening. The girls finished with a score to brag about, beating the Lady Raiders 59-37. The Elizabethton boys took an early lead, and after a sketchy second quarter, got down to business and took the 59-49 win.
The Cyclone effort on the court in the first quarter of the boys' game brought about groans from Sullivan North fans, as a team effort put Elizabethton in the 14-5 lead by the time the buzzer sounded.
Charles Peters kept the layups coming, scoring five Cyclone points in the first frame. A three-pointer from Ben Hardin, and baskets from Adam Turley, Bradley Brown, and Jonathan Laing gave Elizabethton the momentum to carry into the second quarter with confidence. North scored five points in the first on a trey from Dammion Thomas and a Thomas fake that Derek Williams put through the hoop.
Early in the second quarter, the Raiders went on an 11-4 scoring run to come within two points of the Cyclone score, at 18-16. Lester Bailey turned a steal into a layup, and followed up with a second after the turnover, putting Elizabethton further into the lead again. North, however, made another seven-point run to take the 23-22 lead just before the halftime buzzer.
"The second quarter, going into halftime, we pretty much made a run on them, and in my opinion, that should be a run for four quarters," said North head coach Ty Randolph. "That should be a run for thirty-two minutes, but you can see the youth and immaturity in basketball knowledge, and in basketball transition, that's not showing all the talent."
In quarter number three, the Raiders shot just that. Of the thirteen points North scored in the third, nine were from three-point goals, courtesy of two by C.J. Hackler, and another from C.J. Minnick. Turley opened the third quarter scoring with a trey of his own. North's only other scoring came from two baskets by Williams and Thomas.
The Cyclones, on the other hand, made up for lost time, with Turley shooting for eight, Brown putting in three, and Peters, Bailey, and Derrick Nave contributing a basket apiece to the drive that put Elizabethton back in the 39-36 lead by the end of the quarter.
Elizabethton spend the final quarter widening that gap that was beginning to grow on the scoreboard. Peters and Bailey each scored five, and Turley put in four points. Brandon Blevins was instrumental in the offensive force that carried the Cyclones to the victory.
"We got better shots, and were just more under control, and that's how we won - playing more our style," said Elizabethton coach Tony Hardin. "We tried to spread the floor and not take bad shots, wait for the right opportunity, and then make the free throws. We shot free throws well. They had to come at us then, and we just tried to spread it."
Randolph was disappointed in the loss, and hopes that he can help his team gain the experience needed to dominate on the court.
"I think that's just going to take a young team growing up, and me as a coach, eventually I've got to get away from being young and accept the fact that I'm going to do this all the time," Randolph said. "The fans were cheated tonight. They saw six or seven minutes of basketball. That was basically the second quarter. After that, I feel like we were just going through the motions."
Turley topped the Cyclones with 14 points, followed by Peters, 12, and Bailey, 11. Minnick, 12, Hackler 11, and Williams, 10, led the Golden Raiders.
In the girls' game, the Lady Cyclones proved what they were made of early in the contest by scoring fourteen points on North's eight in the first frame. Whitney Bishop hit a trey, and Rikki Baughman led the first-quarter scoring with two field goals and a free throw. Amanda Frazier and Lindsay Collins handled the early scoring for North, sinking two baskets each.
The pressure that the Lady Cyclones put on North's offense caused them to falter again during the second quarter. Kristen Hughes put in a three-pointer, and Cassandra Haynes sank a basket, but besides one more point that Hughes scored from the stripe, the Lady Raiders were stopped offensively.
The Elizabethton offense took control during Cyclone possessions, with the Lady Cyclones playing a sixteen-point second quarter.
"Defensively, they disguised their defenses well. It's hard to score against them," said North girls coach Barry Wade. "We knew that they were going to come out and trap a little bit, put the pressure on us. If you don't attack them, and they attack you, it's going to cause problems. Their pressure took us out of what we wanted to do."
In the third quarter, Baughman sank six points for Elizabethton, while Bishop hit another trey and added a shot from beneath the hoop. Eden Treadway added another three-pointer, and Valneesha Redd scored on a Bishop pass. After Brandi Forbes made a free throw and put in a pass that involved all five Lady Cyclones just before the buzzer, Elizabethton had the 49-25 lead by the end of the third.
More solid scoring from a Lady Cyclone team effort in the final quarter, along with North's trouble executing from the penalty stripe, Elizabethton took the twenty-two point win at 59-37.
"I thought they're a very good basketball team," Wade said of the Lady Cyclones. "They're up there with Boone, but besides Boone, they're probably as good as anybody we've played."
Baughman was tops for the Lady 'Clones, netting 17 points. Redd also reached double figures, scoring 10.
Hughes paced North with 16 points. Frazier added 11.