Strong finish enables EHS to deny Falcons

By Allen LaMountain

   KINGSPORT - The Elizabethton Cyclones put together a 10-point fourth quarter run to blow open what had been a close game and send themselves to Friday night's District-1AA championship game with a 69-57 win over the Volunteer Falcons.
   "I had told the guys coming up here that we would have to control the fourth quarter," said Cyclone head coach Tony Hardin. "We knew Volunteer would be up for the challenge, and I think we played our smartest game of the season. The guys went out and made me a prophet."
   Actually, 'Betsy put together two multi-point runs, the first coming in the second quarter -- a 12-2 blitz to take a 33-23advantage -- but Volunteer closed the gap to 33-31 at the break.
   Playing without guard Lester Bailey, it fell upon fellow guards Walter Brown and B.J. Miller to pick up the scoring, and more importantly the defensive intensity brought by Bailey.
   "It doesn't really put any more pressure on us," said Brown. "You just do what you have to do on the court. We knew we had to step up in that situation."
   Brown was one of four 'Betsy players scoring in double figures with 14, while Miller also went for 14, Vince Redd tallied 16 and Jordan Lambert had 11. Eric Stout finished with nine.
   Redd sat a great deal of the first half with foul trouble, so the Cyclone bench was under the gun to perform in a tough situation. Both Adam Turley and Michael Porter played some solid minutes for EHS.
   "I thought they did an awesome job," said Hardin. "I had no problem keeping them in there."
   'Betsy led 45-40 after three periods and really turned up the heat in the fourth.
   Volunteer's Matt Carr opened the period with a deuce and point guard Andrew Nelms kicked in a bucket on a Cyclone turnover to make it a one-point game.
   Stout answered for 'Betsy with a two-pointer and Bryan Marshall hit one-of-two charity stripe attempts as the Falcons battled to keep the Cyclones within striking range.
   A trey by Ben Southam answered a four-point 'Betsy run to make it a 51-48 contest, but that's when the Cyclones turned on the afterburners.
   Redd hit a pair of buckets and Brown hit two free throws to give the Cyclones a 58-48 lead, and Redd hit one more deuce and Brown hit a free throw before Marshall finally hit for Volunteer.
   "We went through a stretch where we couldn't get anything to fall," said Falcons head coach Todd Whittemore. "EHS made some shots in transition and we missed some opportunities."
   Chuckey Lindholm and Nelms paced the Falcon score sheet with 16 apiece.