Highlanders sink Pirates

By Wes Holtsclaw

   HARROGATE -- Tuesday night at the Tex Turner Arena, the Cloudland Highlanders sank the Washburn Pirates' ship faster than an iceberg could've sunk the Titanic.
   Blasting to a quick and decisive lead to open up the Region 1-A tournament game, Cloudland toppled Washburn in all aspects of the game en route to a big 74-43 victory, advancing the Highlanders to a big semifinal match-up tonight against Hancock County.
   "I thought the kids came out focused," said Highlander coach Ned Smith. "They came out and played good defense, which was the key tonight. We got on them early. I'm just proud of the kids. They came out and played hard, and came down here ready to play.
   "It's tournament time, and you just gotta come and show up and play. I hope we play hard tomorrow."
   Cloudland opened up the game behind the Jones brothers, Kevin and Kyle, with a backing of Mark Byrd, Caleb Denton and Ricky Whitehead.
   The 'Landers quickly bombarded the Pirate attack, allowing them no field goals in the first period taking a 16-4 lead. Washburn's only points came from a Kyle Jones tip-in on the opposite end and a pair of free throws from Quinton Lawson.
   Cloudland maintained its pressure attack behind Kevin Jones and a pair of treys from Josh Johnson. But Washburn held its own behind Justin Acuff and Jeremy Bailey, holding Cloudland to a 37-21 lead at the end of the half.
   Brandon Odom and Kyle Jones opened up the third stanza for the pack from 'Roan-town,' as the Highlander defense scorched Washburn, holding them to only five points and keeping a 51-26 lead going into the final frame. But the 'C-Train' kept on rolling.
   In the fourth quarter, Washburn finally had a player step up to the table, as Adam Wolfenbarger scored all of his 13 points in the frame.
   But Cloudland would be too much, as Cole Gouge with Johnson and Kevin Jones racked up the points, giving the 'Landers the big 74-43 victory.
   Said Kevin Jones, who led the game with 20 points: "We just knew that we had to come in hard and play well. We knew that we needed to put them away, and now we play Hancock. We need to play well inside tomorrow night, shoot the ball well, and cut down on our turnovers."
   "We really shot well tonight," said Kyle Jones, who added 16 for the Cloudland pack. "We played tough defense, and now we have to focus on Hancock. It's been a great year, I'd hate to see it end tomorrow, but we're just going to have to come out here and see what we can do."
   Josh Johnson added 12 points for the Highlanders, while Wolfenbarger led Washburn with his 13.
   Girls Quarterfinal