Cloudland girls, HV boys stand tall

By Ivan Sanders


   The Lady Landers of Cloudland started slow, but finished in a flurry to claim the Class AA regional girls championship by handing the Hunter Lady Tigers a 44-33 setback at Happy Valley High School on Saturday evening.
   Hunter managed to take its only lead of the game in the first quarter behind Sallee Taylor's four points to claim a 9-7 edge, while Cloudland also managed to get four points from tournament MVP Jessica Mathis.
   From that point the Lady Landers were in firm control as they outscored the Lady Tigers 10-7 in the second period with Whitney Hill netting four to pace Cloudland. Meanwhile, all-tourney selection Taylor scored all seven of the Lady Tigers' points to keep her team in contention as they trailed by only one at intermission, 17-16.
   Cloudland was able to add to its lead by a field goal in the third period as another all-tourney selection, Samantha Clawson, showed the way in collecting four in the frame. Taylor notched three more points for Hunter with teammate Danielle Buck contributing with two points.
   The fourth quarter was the difference of the game as Cloudland had to look deep on the bench after getting in foul trouble to call on a seventh grader, Rebekah Tolley, who performed admirably as she led the Lady Landers by dropping in six points. Clawson, all-tourney selection Daranda Byrd and Mathis each netted four to place make sure the title was heading toward Roan Mountain.
   Logan Wagenseller and Taylor swished the nets for four each and Buck also tickled the twine for three to close out Hunter's scoring ledger in the quarter. Taylor was game-high scorer with 18 for Hunter with Buck and Wagenseller adding six points each. Cloudland saw Mathis finish the night with 11, Byrd 10, and Clawson with 9 to pace the Lady 'Landers.
   "We had a good week of practice and we came out and made a lot of turnovers, but also forced a lot of turnovers," stated Coach Randy Birchfield of Cloudland. "Hunter has a good team and we had to work hard, but these girls earned this Regional title and they deserve it."
   AA Boys Final--Double Overtime
   West View 59
   Cloudland 52
   Cloudland was looking for a clean sweep of the regional tournament, but Coach Mike Lunsford's squad found out the Vols of West View were willing to stay all night if necessary to put the broom in the closet.
   Cloudland took a 21-17 halftime advantage behind 13 points off the hand of hot-shooting guard Michael Lunsford. Logan Jaynes kept West View from being pushed out of contention by netting eight points in the first 16 minutes of action.
   The action was fast and furious in the second half as both teams fought with a never-say-die attitude as the scored was tied 35-35 after three quarters and 46-46 at the end of regulation. Lunsford added nine more in the last two quarters of regulation while Rodney Hill and Cody Hughes pitched in with six points each to keep Cloudland's hopes alive.
   West View looked to Jaynes to lead the way with nine points in the second session while Matthew Pate added seven points.
   The first three minutes of the first overtime saw little offense, but tough defensive efforts from both teams as two points were scored by each team in the first extra period. Cloudland had a chance to win, but Tyrall Bradley hit a free throw with seven seconds left to force the second extra period.
   Jaynes was determined to end the game on his own if needed as he scored six points in the second overtime with tournament MVP Caleb Day notching four points to hand the Regional title to West View.
   Jaynes was game-high scorer with 23 points while Day added 11 and teammates Mikie Alexander and Pate collecting 10 each. Lunsford finished the evening with 22 points followed by Dustin Calhoun, who played outstanding in the contest, with 11 points. Hill finished with 9 points with a yeomen's effort.
   Dustin Jaynes from Hampton, Jaynes and Day from West View, and Cloudland's Lunsford and Calhoun comprised the majority of the boys AA all-tourney team.
   AAA Boys Final
   Boones Creek 36
   Happy Valley 41
   The Happy Valley Warriors placed the finishing touches on achieving the three goals they began the season with, and that was the conference, district and regional titles in the trophy case at Happy Valley Middle School.
   Led by tournament MVP Logan Loveless' 11 points and Brandon McCloud's 10, the Warriors locked up the title with a big run after the Bars of Boones Creek pulled within 24-23 with five minutes left in the contest. McCloud did most of the damage during the run by scoring off great dishes from his Warrior teammates in the paint.
   "This was a total team effort because we don't have any superstars on this team," said a smiling Rik Anderson after the game. "We have 10 to 11 guys that get the job done every night with someone different stepping up big and I am very proud of them."
   Boones Creek gave their all, but the defense of the Warriors forced several bad shots and the offense did enough to pull out the win after scoring only two points in the third quarter.
   Bret Ploucha paced the Bars recording eight points with J.T. Osborne adding seven while Cree Hyder and A.J. Tucker each tallied six points each.
   Tony Carr aided the Warriors' cause with seven points while Francisco Borquez sped through the Bars to score six points for Anderson's team.
   Jordan Bowser and Osborne joined Loveless and McCloud on the all-tournament team. Ryan Humphrey of Johnson County also was an all-tourney selection.