Lady Jr. Cyclones trounce Vance in tournament final

By Travis Brown
STAR Staff

   KINGSPORT--The T. A. Dugger Lady Junior Cyclones are Middle 8 tournament champions after an impressive 42-21 victory over the Vance Lady Vikings at John Sevier Middle School late Thursday afternoon.
   The Lady Cyclones took the lead early and never looked back. The talented squad garnered three all-tournament selections (Marti Bush, Michaela Pietrowski and Courtney Towle) while Victoria Hopson took home tournament MVP honors.
   However this contest was not marked by superstar play. On the contrary, this victory showcased the entire roster as 10 players posted points.
   "We came ready to play," TAD head coach Angie Barker said. "I asked them to go for the ball and they did."
   The first period saw the Lady Cyclone defense set up opportunities to score. Holding Vance to a mere four points, the 'Clones were able to secure a 10-point lead heading into the second period.
   The Lady Vikings appeared to show some steam early in the second period as they scored on two consecutive trips down the floor, but the Cyclone press was too much.
   TAD would take advantage of turnovers, and convert those errant passes into transition points.
   After sorting out a substition controversy, the Cyclones went into the half with a comfortable 26-12 lead.
   The third quarter would spell the end for Vance as they would need a small miracle to pull even with the charging Cyclones. The key remained defense, as the Lady Cyclones simply refused Vance any offensive opportunities.
   Elizabethton continued to stretch the advantage until 3:55 remaining in the third. Leading 32-12 Barker called timeout in order to re-think the game plan.
   It would be another two minutes before the Lady Vikings scored their first points of the second half, as Lisa Bevins got on the board, but it was too late for Vance.
   The third quarter saw even more of the dominant defensive effort that helped the Cyclones take home the victory. Full-court pressure along with great anticipation led to a large turnover differential -- turnovers that the Cyclones took to the bank.
   The fourth quarter was a mere technicality en route to a TAD victory and a Middle 8 tournament championship celebration.
   "Our press was very big," Barker said. "We got the ball, and we tried to force turnovers."
   Barker attributes the success of her team to the dedication they have displayed this season.
   "The work ethic was unbelievable on this team," Barker said. "They give me 100 percent."
   Tia Nave paced a balanced Lady Cyclone attack with seven points, while Bush chipped in a six-point effort.