Cyclones succumb to Falcons

By Jeff Birchfield

   Volunteer took a big step toward a Watauga Conference regular season championship with a 65-51 win at Elizabethton on Tuesday night.
   Coming into this season, the Falcons had lost all five previous league games against the Cyclones. For its part, Elizabethton spent its first two seasons in the conference undefeated during the regular season.
   "We had played them tough a couple of times, but they really put it to us a couple of times," recalled Volunteer head coach Todd Whittimore. "It was a good to get a victory over here against them. We just kept crashing the boards in the second half and did a lot of good things.
   "I think all the close games we've had this season has helped us. Our kids are making big plays in the fourth quarter to win ballgames."
   Chucky Lindholm paced the Falcons with 24 points and 14 boards. Jacob Frazier chimed in with 19 points and nine rebounds.
   The Cyclones jumped out to an 11-point lead inthe first quarter and led by the score of 21-16 once the period ended. Volunteer closed to within three in the second before a basket by Brandon Blevins slowed the rally. The Falcons kept the pressure on and eventually tied the game at 29.
   Right before the halftime break, Jonathan Laing came up with a big rebound and was fouled as he attempted a put-back. Laing sank one of two shots at the line to give EHS a 30-29 halftime lead.
   In the third Volunteer finally grabbed the lead on baskets by their two stars.Volunteer pulled out to a five-point lead late in the quarter before Elizabethon closed back within two points on a trey by Chris Vaughn. Trading scores the rest of the period, the Cyclones trailed 44-41 at the end of three.
   Vaughn hit four shots behind the arc in the contest to lead EHS in scoring with 12 points. Derrick Nave added nine points, while Laing and Charles Peters registered seven apiece.
   After Peters tied the game early in the fourth period on a pair of free throws, the Falcons went on a 10-0 run started by Lindholm's three consecutive scores.
   "I picked them and Central 1 and 2 the start of the year and that's where they are, said Elizabethton coach Tony Hardin. "Lindholm just killed us in the fourth quarter moving and getting the ball. Adam Turley is just playing at about 80 percent and you have to give him the badge of honor for even walking on the floor. Charles got in foul trouble and that hurt us.
   "But, we're learning to be a good team and we will bounce back. By the end of the season, we will be OK."
   League leading Volunteer is now 11-4 on the season and 5-1 in the conference, while the Cyclones stand at 3-2 in league play and 8-8 overall.
   Lady Cyclones 62
   Lady Falcons 39
   The Lady Cyclones led by only three points at the end of one quarter and by seven points (24-17) at the half. With a sense of urgency, they went on a decisive 16-1 run to start the third period that ultimately changed the game.
   "Our kids looked at the scoreboard and decided we're going to play a little bit," said EHS head coach Mike Wilson. "We started the game with a big lineup, but brought Valneesha Redd and Valerie Kauffield off the bench in the second half for pressure.
   "If you get any combo of these three to fourplayers- (Tanya) Dykes, Valneesha, Rikki Baughman and Kauffield, we can bring a lot of pressure out there."
   The pressure led to some easy lay-ups for Redd,who had a stellar performance with 13 points.
   "Coach yelling at us at halftime can motivate anybody," said Redd. "It was just the pressure and intensity with everybody's motivation in the second half. I think we can hang with anybody if we play like we did in the second half."
   Baughman led the team with 16 points despite being frequently double-teamed. Brandi Forbes had a strong game inside with eight points, Eden Treadway also showed some nifty moves scoring six, while Dykes powered inside to the tune of five points.
   "We've been harping on feeding the ball inside," said Wilson. "We feel with Forbes, Baughman and (Michaela) Pietrowski, we're hard to stop inside. Brandi is always a real good defender, but she's capable of scoring. She got some good opportunities tonight and knocked them down."
   Volunteer, now 3-9 overall and 2-4 in league play, put forth a great effort. Led by Morghan Arnold with nine points. Amy Skelton, Jacklyn Talbet and Makala Thurman all added five for the Lady Falcons.
   "We just got out-athleted," said VHS coach Dennis Anderson. "They had that big run to start the third quarter and that's been the story all year - those runs. After that, we were out of it."
   The Lady Cyclones improved to 10-4 on the season and remained perfect in conference play with a record of 5-0.