Cyclones stall in second half, lose to D-B

By Allen LaMountain

   KINGSPORT -- By the end of the contest, after a first half that saw Elizabethton take a five-point lead into the intermission, the Cyclones more resembled the tattered remains of Custer's army after the Little Big Horn.
   "We have good kids here and they will learn from this," said Cyclone head coach Tony Hardin. "The way you fix things is when you make a mistake, recognize it, learn from it and then you can forget it.
   "I thought that up until 2:30 that we were still in the game, but we needed a run that didn't come."
   The Dobyns-Bennett Indians -- led by 20 points from Jarrod Wooten -- ended with a flourish on senior night in handing the Cyclones a 70-52 beating at Buck VanHuss Dome on Thursday night.
   In terms of a win, the Cyclones came up empty on this night, but it may prove to be the worst thing that could have happened for the team that faces 'Betsy in the district tournament.
   "This will help us a lot," said Cyclone guard B.J. Miller. "This should teach us to keep our focus like we had in the first half. There are a lot of 2-A teams down the road that are real good and we have to be ready."
   The opening half saw the Cyclones shoot 17-of-30 (50.6 percent) from the floor in a game that was fast-paced and frantic, but 'Betsy couldn't maintain the shooting touch as foul trouble crept up on them.
   With Miller pouring in all 11 of his points in the first half and Vince Redd adding eight the Cyclones led 35-30 at the break.
   "I felt that Elizabethton did a good job of forcing the tempo in the first half," said Indians head coach Charlie Morgan. "They had us back on our heels and I told the guys that we needed to get bodies on people and get some stops. The second half we came out and played D-B basketball."
   The Tribe outscored the Cyclones 21-9 in the third period to grab a 51-44 lead going into the final stanza as Azmer Blye and Anuj Sharma keyed a 14-3 Tribe run in the period to snatch momentum from EHS.
   Offensively in the second half, the Cyclones were like a car that couldn't get out of second gear as they managed to score just 17 points. Miller and Redd both fouled out and Jordan Lambert was playing with four fouls on him.
   For the Tribe, Sharma scored 18 and Jeremy Clark kicked in 11.
   Lady Indians 50
   Lady Cyclones 49
   This contest was the exact opposite of the boys contest as 'Betsy trailed throughout the contest only to come roaring back in the final period to nearly pull out a win.
   Cyclone point guard Brandy Fairman knocked down a pair of big three-pointers to help EHS make a closing run on the Lady Tribe, and Rikki Baughman scored eight of her 10 points in the second half -- including hitting a trey at the buzzer.
   D-B led 27-18 at the half as Amber Quillen scored 11 and Lauren Carrico tacked on 10 more points to the Lady Indian cause in a first half that saw them shoot 10-of-20 from the floor in the first half.
   "Brandy did some very good things out there for us," said Lady Cyclone head coach Mike Wilson. "But if I had this game to play over I would have gone more man-to-man on defense. I won't make that mistake again. It took away any chance our kids had to get a win."
   Trailing 40-26 going into the fourth quarter, 'Betsy closed the gap to 45-41 on a deuce by Baughman and a free throw by Holtsclaw at the 1:04 mark of regulation. Valneesha Redd made a putback after an offensive rebound to make it a 45-43 contest, but Carrico was cool as a cucumber at the free throw line, canning four straight free throws down the stretch.
   "We shot the ball poorly in the second half," said Roger France, Lady Tribe head coach. "Tory (Burton) got in foul trouble and that hurt us. We had some good looks but we didn't make them."