Baughman reaches milestone as 'Betsy girls dispatch North

Photo by Kristen Luther
Elizabethton head coach Mike Wilsonpresents Rikki Baughman a game ball after Baughman scores her 1,000th career point.
By Jeff Birchfield
STAR Staff

   The Elizabethton Lady Cyclones rebounded from their first Watauga Conference loss of the season earlier in the week by pummeling Sullivan North 68-29 Friday night at Treadway Gym.
   Aside from the team honors, junior Rikki Baughman set a mark of individual excellence scoring her 1,000th career point late in the fourth quarter.
   "I'm just really glad that I got it tonight," said Baughman, who was swarmed by young admirers as she emerged from the locker room. "It's been really on me because I knew I had to get it. But I couldn't have done it without my team."
   Baughman was the team scoring leader with 19 points, but much of the night's big plays came courtesy of Tanya Dykes and Michaela Pietrowski.
   Dykes played her usual stellar d
efensive game, but also added 18 points on the offensive end.
   "She can play boys, I'm telling you," said EHS coach Mike Wilson about Dykes. "Tanya is the most underrated player in the league. She plays great defense all the time. On the perimeter she gets after them pretty good."
   Pietrowski was a force inside. According to Wilson, she posted up strong, got balanced and squared up nicely to the goal. Following those basics allowed her to score 14 points.
   "I had a lot of trouble doing that," said Pietrowski about squaring up. "I've had to really practice on it to get better at it. I think when I do that, I can contribute a pretty good amount to the team."
   Wilson dished out strong praise for Baughman as well.
   "She not only had 1000 points, but I don't know how many blocks she had," said Wilson. "She got in there and got some tough offensive rebounds too. She did a heck of a job."
   Elizabethton dominated the game from the opening tip to the final horn. The Cyclones ran out to commanding 22-2 lead at the end of the first quarter. They stayed comfortably ahead 32-15 at the half and were up 48-20 at the end of three quarters.
   After Cassandra Haynes hit a basket for North making it 54-29 in favor of EHS midway through the fourth period, the Lady Cyclones reeled off the final 14 points of the game.
   North coach Barry Wade admitted news that Elizabethton had lost their first league game earlier in the week was something he could have done without.
   "It sort of ticked them off," said Wade. "Hey, they are a good basketball team and that's why they are at the front of the conference. We didn't know Baughman was going after the 1000 points at the time, but I'm glad she did it. That's a big accomplishment for anybody."
   Pietrowski agreed the earlier defeat made the Lady Cyclones more determined to not let it happen again.
   "That loss helped us get our focus back," said Pietrowski. "We did not want to lose a game and then we decided one loss was enough for us."
   Lindsay Collins with nine points and Cortney Ramey with eight were leading scorers for North. Usual top gun Amanda Frazier was held to only five points.
   The game was stopped with 2:32 left after Baughman's final bucket. The public address announcer read off a list of her accomplishments that included leading Northeast Tennessee with an average of 19 points per game and 8 rebounds per game.
   He also pointed out she is Elizabethton High School's all-time leader in categories of blocked shots and defensive rebounds.
   "It was a little embarrassing, but I'm glad," said Baughman about all the additional hype. "My team helps me out so much. I couldn't have done this without them. We came out tonight as a team and played the best we've ever played."
   As a whole, the win put EHS with a league record of 9-1 and an overall mark of 14-5 before a showdown with Unicoi County next Tuesday.
   North, who played a big rivalry game against Volunteer prior to Friday's loss, will face Sullivan Central in their next contest.