Knox Webb overcome by Highlanders, 75-58

By Ivan Sanders

   The Cloudland-Knox Webb contest was reminiscent of tuning a sputtering engine. The game began with a few knocks and pecks, but by the final horn, Cloudland was hitting on all cylinders.
   The Highlanders were finally able to put away the visitors from Knoxville as they rolled to a 75-58 victory at Sonny Smith Gym on Friday night.
   The start of the contest saw several turnovers by both teams. Neither team seemed to be able to establish any momentum as the Spartans held the upper hand after one, 14-11.
   The Spartans big man, Clifton Lowry, found his stroke in the early going, hitting three out of four treys in the opening period for 9 points. Robbie Tolley kept the Landers in the game early as he worked hard on the inside to tally seven points in the period.
   "We really played tough inside," said Tolley. "That was the whole key."
   The Spartans were having a horrid time shooting the ball on the night, especially in the first 16:00.
   Said Spartan head coach Luke Day: "I felt like we should have entered the locker room in the lead. The second half they were able to hit their shots and we couldn't get anything to fall. They're really a good team."
   Day was referring to the fact that the 'Landers were able to overcome the four-point deficit from the first and turn that into a one-point lead at the half.
   Brandon Odom hit a big trey to pace the 'Landers in the second with five points with Mark Byrd adding three points. Lowry collected four more to give him 13 of the 23 Spartan points at intermission.
   The 'Landers came back in front of the home crowd after break, and looked like a greased pig running through the Spartan defense to balloon their lead to 10 points at the end of the third quarter.
   "The big key in the second half was us going to the inside," stated 'Lander head coach Ned Smith. "We were out of sync in the first half and when we went inside it changed the game."
   Kyle Jones paced the 'Landers in the third with six points, followed by Byrd and Kevin Jones with four each. The 'Lander defense did an outstanding job in the quarter shutting the Spartans down, giving up only nine points.
   (Kyle) Jones once again caught fire in the fourth period, hitting three of four from the field and four straight at the foul line for 10 points.
   Another 'Lander who found success in the quarter was Ricky Whitehead. Whitehead had only managed three points through the first three quarters, but erupted for nine points in the finally period.
   "I don't know what happened to me early on," said Whitehead. "When we started to take it inside, it really opened things up for us."
   The Spartans had a big quarter as well, scoring 26 points. Aaron Frazier heated up to score 11 points while Lowry added five more.
   The 'Landers received scoring from six players to tally their highest output of the year in the fourth quarter. Cloudland would tickle the twine for 33 big points.
   "That was the best offensive quarter we had all season," stated Smith. "Our guys did a great job in the second half."