Greeneville gets past Lady Junior Cyclones

By Ivan Sanders

STAR CORRESPONDENT
isanders@starhq.com

   KINGSPORT -- Basketball is a game where each competitor must be mentally prepared not to be intimidated by the opposition or the contest could be over with before it even gets past the first quarter.
   After making a brilliant run through postseason play, T.A. Dugger's Lady Junior Cyclones finally met their match in the Greeneville Lady Junior Greene Devils in the championship of the Area 1 tournament at John Sevier on Friday as Greeneville took home the first-place hardware by the score of 43-39.
   "We were scared and intimidated by Greeneville today," said TAD Lady Cyclone mentor Angie Barker. "They beat us at our own game today by running the floor and keeping the defensive pressure on us and we just wasn't up to the challenge."
   For two and a half quarters the Jr. Lady Cyclones appeared to be in awe of their opponent as they made several unforced mistakes and often stood back and viewed the contest while Greeneville built a lead of as many as 12 points.
   For those familiar with the offensive prowess of the Lady Jr. Cyclones, there is not such a thing as too big of an advantage that they aren't capable of overtaking.
   The lights finally came on with a little less than two minutes left in the third quarter as TAD went on a blitzing run to trim a 12-point deficit down to four by the end of the period.
   With the always loud student body urging them on, the Lady 'Clones caught the Lady Devils at 35-35 on a Mikeal Oliver field goal in the fourth that seemed to help TAD realize they could play with the team from Greeneville.
   From that point on, the lead swapped hands several times until Lauren Anderson hit two free throws with 30 seconds left to go that gave Greeneville a 41-39 advantage that would seal the championship for the Lady Devils.
   For good measure Whitney Carter hit two final free throws with two seconds left after the Jr. Lady Cyclones allowed valuable time to slip away before getting whistled for a foul that Barker and her staff were trying desperately to get.
   "We played like a chicken with its head cut off for a majority of the game," said Barker. "When we settled down and played our game we did really well, but Greeneville did a better job and deserved to get what they earned in this contest."
   Victoria Hopson was a stabilizing factor for TAD as she led the Lady 'Clones with 14 points and eight rebounds. Courtney Towle also was a major factor in the comeback for Coach Barker's club as she sliced and diced her way to nine points for the contest.
   Anderson matched Hopson with 14 points for Greeneville. Carter added 10 and Ashley Deans collected eight points for the champs from Area 1.
   Other key performers for T.A. Dugger were Marti Bush with four points and five boards, Michaela Pietrowski with eight rebounds and four blocked shots, and Oliver and Brittany Smith, who both created two steals while contributing with three points and six points, respectively.
   "The kids weren't in it today and when we travel to Rogersville on Saturday we will be ready to play or I will find five girls that really want to play," quipped Barker. "We are going to step up and play our level of basketball."
   Note: A standing ovation is deserving for all the students of T.A. Dugger that traveled to Kingsport in support of their team. It was noticed by several of the different schools in the tournaments and once again Cyclone Pride was provided by all the kids and adults who followed their Lady Cyclones through the District and Area 1 competition.