'Clones dismiss Falcons

By Allen LaMountain

   CHURCH HILL--As cool as the other side of the pillow, the Elizabethton Cyclones repeatedly took the Volunteer Falcons best shot and not only kept pace, but pulled away for an 83-62 victory on Tuesday night.
   Senior post Vince Redd scored a game-high 23 points while pulling down nine rebounds and posting a pair of blocked shots. Co-author of the Cyclone demolition of the Falcons was guard B.J. Miller who added 22 points to the 'Betsy cause.
   "We did what we had to do in a game like this," said Miller. "We made our shots, made our free throws and kept our emotions in check. That's important on the road. We know that coming into another team's gym that they want to beat us bad."
   'Betsy (13-0 Watauga Conference, 21-3 overall) jumped out to a 22-12 lead after one period as the Falcons showed that they missed forward Chucky Lindholm, who had to miss the game due to drawing two technical fouls in the Falcons previous game.
   "We missed our scoring and rebounding leader out there," said Volunteer head coach Todd Whittemore. "But EHS did what they had to do, you can't take anything away from the way they played tonight. They are a good basketball team."
   At one point in the first half 'Betsy led by a 31-12 margin only to see Volunteer come roaring back to close the EHS lead to 38-28 at the break. The Falcons 26-7 run was sparked by forward Andrew Nelms and post Marcus Bellamy, who tallied 10 first-half points.
   The third period saw EHS extend that lead with a 10-4 run that made it a 48-32 contest as Miller canned a three to put the exclamation point on the run and force a Falcon timeout to regroup.
   Nathan Coffman buried a trey as EHS took a 55-36 lead in the third period only to see Volunteer close the gap once again. 'Betsy took a 59-43 advantage into the fourth period but nothing was assured as both teams battled foul trouble.
   Volunteer shot 46 times from the charity stripe -- connecting on 28 -- for a 60.8 percentage, while EHS was good for 20-of-30 (66.7 percent).
   "It was that kind of game tonight," said Cyclones head coach Tony Hardin. "A lot of free throw were shot. There were a couple of unsung heroes tonight, namely Charles Peters and Chris Vaughn who I thought both had great games."
   Lady Cyclones 58
   Lady Falcons 45
   Sophomore Rikki Baughman had a sensational night -- shooting eight-of-10 from the floor while scoring a game-high 21 points as the Lady Cyclones won big. The win secures that the Lady Cyclones (11-3 WC, 15-5 overall) can finish no worse than second in the Watauga Conference.
   Valnessha Redd scored 13 points to back Baughman's effort.
   EHS took a 27-17 halftime lead on the strength of Baughman's 13 first-half points, as the Lady Cyclones started slowly -- trailing seven-to-nothing early -- but found their groove and began to dominate.
   "It sure wasn't pretty early on," commented Lady Cyclones head coach Mike Wilson. "We got behind by seven points and we weren't playing well defensively. But, once we settled down things went much better. We started doing the things we need to do, like hitting the boards."
   Volunteer cut the 'Betsy lead to 40-31 going into the final stanza, but EHS was up to the challenge of holding off the upstart Lady Falcons.
   "EHS has so much team speed and quickness," said Volunteer head coach Dennis Anderson. "We can't match that kind of speed. I guess by closing the gap like we did we kind of woke them up. We rely on so many young kids to play hard, and they do, but Elizabethton has a lot of experience as well."
   Baughman opened the fourth quarter with a three-point play the old fashioned way and Tanya Dykes was two-for-two from the stripe as 'Betsy led 45-33 at the 5:20 mark of regulation.
   The Lady Falcons closed to within 50-41 with a tad over three minutes left, but Dykes hit a bucket and then a free throw to give EHS a 53-41 lead with time now a factor for Volunteer.
   Another three-point play by Baughman with just over a minute left iced it for EHS.
   EHS notes: The Cyclones will play a makeup game tonight against Gate City from a weather postponed game earlier this season.