Cyclones advance in JV tournament

By Ivan Sanders

   CHURCH HILL -- The fans in Volunteer High's gym didn't know if they were watching a basketball game or a tug of war.
   Elizabethton opened up the Watauga Conference junior varsity tournament with a come-from-behind win over Sullivan North 55-46 on Saturday afternoon.
   The Cyclones started out hot and opened up a 7-2 advantage before the Raiders came storming back on the strength several long-range treys to take a 14-13 lead at the end of one.
   "We didn't come out ready to play early," said coach Richard VanHuss of the Cyclones. "In the fourth quarter we stepped up and played like we can all the time."
   The Raiders and Cyclones swapped several baskets in the second before the Raiders were able to squeeze out an additional three points to extend their lead to 31-27 at the break.
   The Cyclones came out of the locker room and quickly over came the four-point deficit to take a two-point lead. Jonathan Laing had some key rebounds and put-backs as did Adam Turley to spur the Cyclone run.
   Turley and Michael Porter had a big game as Turley paced the Cyclones with 15 while Porter canned 14 points on the day.
   "Porter and Turley stepped up with some key rebounds and buckets for us today," said VanHuss. "Jonathan really got us going in the third period with the big boards he pulled down."
   The Cyclones finally decided to play defense in the fourth, allowing the Raiders only five points in the period while netting 14 of their own to take the nine-point victory.
   Jeremy Robinson contributed seven for the Cyclones while Chris Vaughn added five. Nathan Coffman, Derek Wilson, and Jonathan Laing netted four on the day and Jordan Bray finished with two.
   The C.J.'s led the Raiders. C.J. Hackler and C.J. Minnick each pumped in 12 to lead North. Andrew Tunnell added 8 and Brandon Sumner contributed 7.
   "We want to come over here and win this tournament," said Turley. "They played hard, but we just played harder."
   Porter added: "We didn't play well early in the contest, but luckily the talent we have on this team helped to overcome our poor play. We will definitely have to play better defense to win this tournament."