Boone shakes Cloudland in fourth quarter

By Wes Holtsclaw


   GRAY -- The Cloudland Highlanders never caved in, until the fourth quarter.
   With the balance of the game going back and forth all night, the Daniel Boone Trailblazers upped their defense in the final period, outscoring the 'Landers 18-5 en route to a 53-37 victory on Tuesday night.
   Cloudland held a three-point lead late in the second quarter before Boone's Jeremy Helscel drained a 50-footer at the buzzer to tie it up at the half.
   "He hit that one and we didn't expect it," said Daniel Boone coach Bobby Snyder. "Cloudland controlled the pace in the first half. "We didn't get second shots, but we did much better later on. We stepped our play up and took away (Josh) Johnson's threes. (Robbie) Tolley is a handful and we had to defend him as a team."
   "I thought we played real well in the first half," said Cloudland coach Ned Smith. "We stuck to our game plan, but it got away from us in the second and we started shooting bad shots. We stopped working hard on our posts and we need to work on our rebounding."
   The Highlanders opened the game with solid shooting from Mark Byrd and Josh Johnson to overwhelm the Blazers.
   Helscel and Aaron Cox were big in the first half for Boone. With a resurgance from Toby Hawkins late in the game, the trio made it tough for Cloudland to bounce back.
   Robbie Tolley was a handful for Boone throughout the game, but Scot Ploucha and Brandon Kinnett did a good job late of securing the boards for the Trailblazers.
   Cole Gouge rallied late with a pair of threes, but it would be too little and too late for Cloudland.
   Defense was a big key in the game early for both squads, as they only scored 22 points apiece after the first frame. Both squads only got six players involved in scoring.
   Snyder was impressed with the unselfishness and skills of Cloudland's Byrd.
   "It's amazing what he means to them," Snyder said. "He's one of my all-time favorites to watch and he can really make them tick. He seldomly scores and that tells you how unselfish he is."
   "This is a good win for us," he said. "We've had three good wins in a row over Sullivan East, Morristown East and now Cloudland. I think our kids are getting better."
   Boone's Helscel led all scores with 15, while teammates Hawkins and Cox have 11 and 10, respectively. Johnson and Tolley led Cloudland with 13 and 12, respectively.
   Cloudland continues play in the district tournament with a big contest against University High on Monday, while Boone faces North Greene before meeting Tennessee High in their district on Monday.