'Landers take two from Cedar View Christian

By Travis Brown
STAR Staff

   The Cloudland Highlanders started off on the right foot Tuesday night as both the boys and girls took a pair from the Cedar View Seahawks in local basketball action.
   The girls started off the double dip, and after dispelling some early butterflies, the Lady 'Landers rolled to a 57-42 victory.
   The Lady Highlanders took off like gangbusters in first quarter opening up a 21-6 margin heading into the second quarter. April Williams and Natasha Benfield scored six and five respectively in the opening frame to get the 'Landers out of the gate.
   In the second quarter however the Lady Seahawks got back into the game somwhat on the strength of Brittany Wells. Her strong foul shooting and ball distribution pulled the Seahawks to within 10 heading to the half.
   Ballhandling seemed to plague the Highlanders in the second period as a couple of turnovers were enough to give the Lady Seahawks a glimmer of hope heading into the half.
   Despite the solid second quarter showing the third quarter was all she wrote for the Seahawks. The Lady 'Landers found their shooting touch and posted 21 points in the third stanza to all but ice the contest.
   Williams led the Highlanders with 14 while 9 other ladies posted a score. Wells paced the Seahaks, delivering 16 points, with 12 of them coming from the foul line.
   The fourth quarter was just a formality, as the Lady 'Landers finished out the contest strong, and had an opportunity to get the bench invloved in the final period.
   After the contest, Highlander skipper Matt Birchfield was pleased with his team's perfomance, but is weary of the contest coming up this weekend, "We came out slow, but picked it up in the third quarter," said Birchfield "We've got a big game against Hampton coming up, and we need to be at our best."
   The boys contest would not be such a lopsided affair however, as the Seahawks came out with intensity and maintained that level of play for four quarters.
   Despite the solid effort from both teams, the Landers were the last men standing in a 70-65 shootout.
   The Highlanders would struggle in the early going however, as the Seahawks took an early lead on the solid shooting of Dustin Jessee and Stephen Steffey. The Highlanders rallied in the later half of the first period with strong pressure defensively, and converting on Seahawk turnovers to take a 21-15 first quarter lead.
   Both clubs battled hard in the second quarter, as the Seahawks continued to shoot the ball well from the perimiter, meanwhile the Landers were tearing it up inside.
   A decisive advantage fell to the Highlanders in the post, as they rebounded well, and picked up a good deal of second chance opportunities, thanks to the play of Robby Tolley and Ricky Whitehead.
   The third quarter saw a big slow down in tempo, as both squads picked up the effort on the defensive end of the floor. The Seahawks pulled even with the 'Landers with 1:09 left in the 3rd quarter at 40 a piece.
   The fourth quarter turned into a real barnburner. Both teams caught fire scoring a total fo 53 points in the final period, with the lead changing hands three times before Craig Cook hit four consecutive free throws to ice the contest despite a pair of late threes by Jessee.
   Boys head coach Ned Smith was happy with his club's enthusiasim after the game, but as he pointed out it lead to some problems as well, "Our kids came out with enthusiasim," said Smith "But we were not patient enough at times. We have to work on getting it inside more too."
   The victories by both teams helps to get the Landers off to a great start, and the boys have even more to look forward to after football season, as they will get a good group of B-Ballers when the playoff chase is finally over.
   But something tells me those Lander faithful are willing to wait a couple of weeks for that.