Lady Jr. Cyclones storm into Area 1 championship

By Ivan Sanders
STAR CORRESPONDENT

isanders@starhq.com
   KINGSPORT -- Duke has the rowdy student body to cheer its every move, but even the Duke rowdies might have trouble standing against the student body of T.A. Dugger, which seems to put the juice into the Lady Junior Cyclones as they keep blowing away one opponent after another.
   In another outstanding team performance, the Lady Cyclones have claimed the second slot opposite Greeneville for the Area 1 championship game on Friday as they made the 16-2 Blountville Lady Tigers look like as bunch of pussy cats in a 49-27 victory on Tuesday afternoon at John Sevier Middle School.
   "We came out a little flat tonight, which could have been in part because we played the late game last night and we were tired," stated Lady Cyclone coach Angie Barker. "We really didn't play our game with the fastbreaks and defensive intensity we can play with, so we are really going to work on stepping it up when we play Greeneville."
   It may not have been their best effort, but it was certainly more than what the Lady Tigers were ready to deal with. TAD raced out to a 15-4 first-quarter advantage behind the hot shooting of Tia Nave, who paced the Jr. Lady 'Clones with six points.
   Marti Bush and Courtney Towle each contributed in the period with four and three, respectively.
   The second period was probably the best played quarter by the Lady Tigers as they hung tough with TAD by only being outscored 10-9 in the six-minute frame. Andrea Johnson scored five to show the way for Blountville while Mikeal Oliver came off the bench and gave the Lady 'Clones an offensive boost with four points in helping her squad maintain the halftime advantage of 25-13.
   Victoria Hopson came out on fire to start the second half as the Lady 'Clone smoked the cotton for seven points. Bush was also effective in helping TAD outscore the Lady Tigers 13-7 in the quarter as she hit four of five from the free-throw line. Christina Howard led Blountville with five, including a trey.
   The fourth and final period belonged to Michaela Pietrowski as the tall post player collected five in the session as T.A. Dugger pulled away easily to cage the Tigers and send them to the consolation game. TAD once again was able to outpoint the Blountville team by an 11-7 edge to round out the final tally.
   Hopson was game-high scorer with nine points and six boards. Bush and Nave finished the evening with eight points each while each contributed in other ways statistically, with Bush nabbing four boards while Nave added two steals and three assists.
   Other Lady Cyclones with big efforts were Pietrowski, who might be considered the chairman of the boards, as she ripped down 14 rebounds and scored seven points. Holly Livingston also helped give the Lady Cyclones board control, garnering six rebounds to go along with four points, and Courtney Towle had another solid defensive night as she was responsible for five steals and three points.
   Howard paced Blountville with seven points followed by Jesse Hoover with six points.
   "We showed how deep we were tonight as 10 of our 15 players scored, which proved on any given night any player can be a contributing factor," said Barker. "These girls are totally awesome and unbelievable with the kind of work habits they have and they deserve every thing they get."
   T.A. Dugger will face Blountville at 4:15 p.m. on Friday at John Sevier. As a result of their win the Lady Cyclones have also sewn up a berth in the sectional, which gets underway on Saturday at Pigeon Forge.