Lady Highlanders prevail; UH boys score easy win

By Wes Holtsclaw

   The Watauga Valley Conference champs had a slow night in Johnson City.
   Starting the contest on an slow run, the Cloudland Lady Highlanders fought off a pesky University High Lady Buc squad with a 58-41 victory at Brooks Gym.
   "We shot real poor tonight," said Cloudland coach Matt Birchfield. "We finished strong and had all of our young kids in the game. I'm real happy with their performance.
   "Tara (Hanson) stepped up and made some big buckets for us, Rebecca Clawson had 10 for us and played real hard. They just came out when we needed it inside."
   Cloudland led by 12 at the end of the first half, but the Lady Bucs battled back early in the third quarter. Some big buckets from Katie Crowe sliced it to nine.
   Jo Thomas and Duff Rearden pulled UH to five at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
   Hanson rallied Cloudland back into the contest with two big treys followd by some big buckets from Clawson and April Williams. Crystal Arnold came off the bench and made some big shots for Cloudland as they spread their lead back to where they wanted.
   Hanson led all scores with her 21 while Duff Rearden netted 16 for the Lady Bucs. Clawson had 10 for Cloudland.
   University High 79
   Cloudland 51
   4 of 15 to open the first half, 2 of 15 to open the second half.
   Those number state the factor of University High's 79-51 victory over the Cloudland Highlanders at Brooks Gym Thursday night.
   "Our halfcourt defense was tremendous," said University High coach Tony Gordon. "We fronted our posts and kept the pressure out on them. I think they came out with a lot of emotion, but I think we might have taken that away with our good start."
   "It was senior night," he said. "We started all of our seniors and we told them to make it memorable. Some things simply went our way."
   Cole Gouge led Cloudland with 19 points, but after trailing from a 30-point deficit at one point in the game it was simply out of reach. Darryl Collins and Matt Conley led the Junior Bucs with 16 points, while Brandon Bradley netted 14.
   "They didn't come out like we expected them to," said Buc center Brandon Bradley. "We didn't want them to win any conference on our floor. I think this will give us a boost and it will be good for us. We've still got to practice hard and get things going, because we want Unaka."