District 1 flexes its muscles

By Allen LaMountain
Assistant Sports Editor

   The first round of the Region 1-AA tournament concluded on Tuesday night at Treadway gymnasium with the District 1 Watauga Conference showing dominance on the boys and girls side of the ball.
   All in all District 1 won six of eight contests with both the boys and girls posting 3-1 records in tournament play. In fact, from District 1 only Volunteer failed to make the second round.
   Both Sullivan Central squads are alive for sub-state berths as are the Unicoi County girls, the Johnson County boys and both Elizabethton squads.
   It wasn't always easy as District two's teams have shown a lot of fight. Here is a wrap up of the first round's action thus far.
   Unicoi County vs Pigeon Forge
   The Lady Blue Devils (27-3) squeaked past a small, but feisty Pigeon Forge Lady Tigers squad 49-47 as Candace Shelton's offensive rebound and putback shot just did beat the buzzer to propel Unicoi County to the second round tonight where they will face Sullivan Central. Game time is 4 p.m. Meghan Headley's 16 points led the way, while Kendra Newman paced Pigeon Forge (18-9) with 13.
   Cyclones vs South Greene
   In the only real blowout contest thus far the Cyclones (27-4) dominated the Rebels (14-13) by a 68-43 tally as Jordan Lambert led the way with a 21- point effort. Tyler Sauceman was the top scorer for the Rebels with 16 points.
   'Betsy squares off with Pigeon Forge -- who were the only District 2 boys' team to advance -- at 5:30 p.m. tonight.
   West Greene vs Volunteer (girls)
   The Lady Buffaloes had to rally in the second half to get past Volunteer (9-18) who were led by senior guard Leah Johnson's 18 points. West Greene (19-15) trailed 23-16 at the break, but out-scored Volunteer 15-5 in the third period to take a 31-28 lead into the final stanza.
   West Greene -- led by Jessica Snead's 16-point effort -- will face the Lady Cyclones at 4 p.m.
   Johnson County vs Claiborne County
   The Longhorns got an extraordinary performance from senior forward Matt Cornett, who may have played his career-best game scoring 32 points in a 62-61 victory. Cornett also took down six boards.
   Johnson County (17-15) and the Blue Devils (22-9) traded body blows the entire contest, until Cornett's three-point play and a later free throw gave the 'Horns a four-point lead. Claiborne County's Tony Brogan launched a 50-plus footer at the buzzer that went into make the final tally a slim point.
   The 'Horns play Sullivan Central at 8:30 p.m.
   Claiborne County vs Sullivan Central (girls)
   Kristi Moody and Caitie Munal each scored 17 points as the Lady Cougars kept their hopes alive with a 59-52 win over the Lady Blue Devils of Claiborne County (20-9). The Lady Cougars (13-16) led throughout, but never by more than six points.
   Abby DeBusk led Claiborne County with 21 points.
   Pigeon Forge vs Volunteer (boys)
   The Tigers (23-6) advanced on the strength of A.J. Woodrick's 16-point effort which was backed by 13 from Allen Dewyse.
   Volunteer ended its season at 22-13, but had disappointing final game efforts from Chucky Lindholm and Marcus Bellamy who scored just nine and eight points respectively. Andrew Nelms stepped up with 19 points to lead the Falcons.
   Pigeon Forge stares into the face of the dragon next however as they must next face the Cyclones.
   Elizabethton vs South Greene (girls)
   Senior post Lacy Lane stepped up big with an 18-point effort -- which included scoring the first seven points of the game for 'Betsy -- as the Lady Cyclones (17-9) got past South Greene 59-51.
   The Lady Rebels (20-9) were led by Whitney Tweed who tallied 20 points.
   Elizabethton plays at 7 p.m. against West Greene.
   Sullivan Central vs Gat-Pittman (boys)
   Stellar efforts from John LeSueur and Matt Dunford paced the Cougars (30-5) 61-49 thrashing of the Highlanders (11-18). Dunford scored 24 points and LeSueur tallied 19 as Central plays Johnson County in the finale of round two at 8:30 p.m.