Lady Cyclones dismiss South Greene

By Ivan Sanders

   In a game that saw more bodies flying than in a wrestling match between the Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones took a physical battering from the South Greene Lady Rebels but managed to control the scoreboard from start to finish in advancing to the next round of the regional tournament in A.L. Treadway Gym.
   Taking a 15-9 first quarter advantage, the Cyclones proved they were up to the task of taking on the 20-8 Rebels by taking a 59-51 win on Tuesday night and now will face the West Greene Lady Buffalos tonight in a rematch of an earlier game that saw West Greene win at the buzzer.
   "We had to get tough tonight," said Lady Cyclone head coach Mike Wilson. "Our quickness really hurt them tonight, especially when they tried to pressure us, and we did a much better job of rebounding than in the game we played against Unicoi County and were effective in taking away their high-low game."
   Lacy Lane was hotter than a red-hot fire poker in the first half as the senior blazed in 11 points in the first half to set the tone for the Lady 'Clones. Rikki Baughman also played an effective half as she collected seven points in the half as well.
   "We knew it was going to be intense and we needed to stay up," said Lane. "They are a tough team because they were number one in their conference this season so we just played together and played hard defensively."
   It was a battle in the paint as Brandi Forbes, Tanya Dykes, Valnessha Redd, and Baughman had to stand toe to toe with the Lady Rebels who seemed to favor the rough stuff in the middle. The result proved to be a 27-22 halftime edge for the Lady Cyclones.
   Whitney Tweed and Passhon Presnell kept the Lady Rebels close by scoring eight and five respectively in the half.
   The second 16:00 minutes saw the Lady Rebels quickly pull within striking distance of the Lady Cyclones as they cut the lead to 29-28 with 5:03 left in the third and was able to stay within two points until the 2:55 mark of the quarter when EHS began to edge its lead out the slightest.
   Sarah Smith seemed to ignite the Lady Cyclone cause as the swift guard made a steal and took it to the bucket for a easy deuce for a 35-29 advantage with 60 ticks left on the clock. After cutting the lead back to three, Baughman took a full-court inbound pass and laid the ball up and in to push the lead back to 37-32 as the horn sounded.
   EHS managed to run the lead to 8 points with 5:59 left in the game as Redd was like a greased pig in sliding between two Lady Rebel defenders for a bucket and a 40-32 Lady Cyclone edge. The Cyclones got a boost at the three-minute mark when Brittany Waddell was whistled for a foul and had a few words for the official who nailed her with a technical foul.
   Redd hit one of two on the foul call from the charity stripe and Lane took care of business on the technical by netting both freebies to push the advantage to 47-41. A few seconds elapsed off the clock when a whistle sent Baughman to the pine with five fouls and the Lady Cyclones facing 2:42 left to play against the hard charging Lady Rebels.
   Knowing someone needed to step up to insure the Cyclones advancement, Dykes and Redd took the team on their shoulders as both made several key plays in the closing moments on the offensive and defensive end of the floor.
   "I knew I needed to step it up and pull some of the weight," said Redd. "We knew we had to fight back with them to stay in the game and we just played as a team in playing our type of game."
   Said Dykes: "We knew were going to have to play good defense to keep them from catching us. This was a big win and it will definitely help us to get ready to play our next game. We are just excited to get to advance."
   Lane lead the Lady Cyclones with 18 points on the night with Redd tossing in 13. Baughman managed to collect 11 before fouling out late with Smith contributing with 8 points. Tweed was game-high scorer as the Lady Rebel pasted the nets for 20 points with Presnell wrapping up her season with 13 points.
   Central Lady Cougars 59
   Claiborne County 52
   Behind a solid performance from Caitie Munal and Kristie Moody, who collected 17 points each, the Lady Cougars caught the Lady Blue Devils of Claiborne County by surprise to advance to the next round against a familiar foe in Unicoi County.
   Central built a 30-21 halftime edge and held off a pesky bunch of Lady Devils to take the win. Abby DeBusk paced Claiborne Co. with 21 points while Jessie Redmond added 11.
   With the win, the Watauga Conference is assured of three of the four teams being from within the conference.
   Pigeon Forge 49
   Volunteer 46
   Volunteer gave a gutsy effort, but the Tigers of Pigeon Forge High made sure at least one of the remaining four teams will be from District 2 as they fought tooth and nail in taking the 49-46 win and an opportunity to square off against the Elizabethton Cyclones tonight.
   A.J. Woodrich lead the Tigers effort with 15 points while Allen Dewyse added 13 and Antonio Welcome 10. Andrew Nelms was high scorer for the Falcons as he scored 19 points on the evening. Ben Southam nabbed 10 points as well for Volunteer.
   It appeared for a while that all four of the semi-finalist could come from District 1, but Pigeon Forge, who carried a 13-16 record in, pulled out the win late.
   Central 61
   Gatlinburg-Pittman 49
   Central came out in the second half and turned a 28-28 game at the half into a 61-49 victory. Matt Dunford had another big night as the junior post hit for 22 points on the night. Teammate John LeSueur was close behind with 19.
   Gat-Pitt was bombing away early and seemed to shell-shock the Cougars, but Central responded an signed their name opposite the Johnson County Longhorns tonight.
   Chuck Edwards led the Highlanders with 20 while teammates Toby Kirkland and Nick Voyles added nine points and seven points respectively.