Pigeon Forge no match for 'Betsy

By Kim Richardson

   MORRISTOWN--The Lady Cyclones of Elizabethton High School will find out tonight where they'll be playing in the substate. But they will be playing.
   Elizabethton plays South Greene tonight at 6 at Morristown West High School after humbling the Tigers of Pigeon Forge 58-37 in Wednesday's Region 1-AA semifinals.
   Whitney Bishop started things off for Elizabethton with a jumper only 15 seconds into the contest. Bishop would score seven points for the game, five in the first quarter.
   Cameron Crapps shared playing time with Bishop at point guard and also scored seven points, and just like Bishop, she hit two deuces and a trey.
   But that's such a small part of their contribution to the Elizabethton victory. Bishop and Crapps were told by Coach Mike Wilson before the game how important their roles would be if the Lady Cyclones were to have any chance at victory.
   "I couldn't have asked them for anything more," Coach Wilson said. "Newman had scored 20 points in her last game (against Sullivan Central), so we knew our guards had their work cut out for them. But this, three points, it's unbelievable."
   Bishop took it all in stride.
   "We take our roles very seriously, both offensively and defensively," she said. "We knew they had shooters, but we were determined to stay on them, no matter what."
   So it's on to where? The impressive fashion in which South Greene defeated Unicoi County last night leaves room for doubt.
   If the Cyclones manage to defeat the Rebels from Greeneville, then it's back to EHS for a Saturday night showdown against the runner-up from the Region 2-AA tournament.
   However, if they lose, then it's off to play in somebody else's gym.
   Valnessha Redd, who began the second half offensive barrage with two threes, said it's only a matter of playing Cyclone Basketball.
   "We came out and did what we had to do tonight," she said. "We didn't want to see our season end, not when we're playing our best basketball."
   Tanya Dykes, who had three baskets for six points against the Tigers, was confident, yet reserved in her appraisal of the upcoming game against the Rebels.
   "We have to continue to come together as the team we're capable of being," she said. "We know they're very good, but we have to play our game, play good defense and box out."
   Coach Wilson was, "well pleased with the overall team victory."
   "It took a total team effort to win by such a wide margin against a very good ball club," he said. "But I have to say Cameron and Whitney did such an excellent job on their guards. They refused to let them get shots off. It was an outstanding effort, but we've grown accustomed to that kind of play from them."
   Rikki Baughman had a "typical Rikki Baughman game in every sense of the word," according to her coach. "She had 15 rebounds and an overall great game," Wilson said. "She also had a couple big putbacks there when we needed it most."
   Baughman actually had four putbacks plus two breakaway layups in the fourth quarter alone. In fact she entered the final period with 11 points, but within two minutes she had already reached her total of 19.
   The Lady Cyclones can beat South Greene, but it will take an effort similar to the one displayed against Pigeon Forge.
   The Rebels spread and slash offensively. They're a very aggressive offensive rebounding team. That was the most devastating thing to cope with for Unicoi; that and the fact that Elizabeth Weaver was no near a hundred percent.
   Defensively, the Rebels come with pressure. They're very aggressive, very physical. If the Lady Cyclones can hold their turnovers to a minimum, control the tempo box out defensively, then we'll look forward to watching them play in Treadway Gymnasium this Saturday.