Cyclones seize consolation honors

By Allen LaMountain
ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR

   BRISTOL, Va. -- On Saturday, the Elizabethton Cyclones got a free sneak preview of a team that is considered to be among the top squads in the Watauga Conference: Sullivan Central.
   Central won't play the Cyclones again until January 6, which is good, because it will probably take the Cougars that long to get over the 62-45 drubbing the Cyclones laid on them Saturday night at the Highlands Classic.
   Junior post Vince Redd paced the field with 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the floor. Redd also ripped down 12 boards (four offensive) and blocked two shots in an all-around solid performance.
   "When Vince plays this type of game it makes us a better team," said Cyclone head coach Tony Hardin. "We challenged him a little bit, told him in the dressing room, 'We're coming to you buddy.' We felt that with Lester (Bailey) out, that we needed to establish a strong post presence early, and he accepted the challenge."
   Bailey twisted his right ankle against Bearden and did not suit up for Saturday night's contest.
   Elizabethton raced to a 15-9 first quarter lead despite poor shooting from three-point land. Betsy shot just three-of-16 (18.8 percent) from beyond the arc, and were blanked from long range by Bearden on Friday night.
   Led by Redd's 20 point, first half effort, the Cyclones went into the break with a 27-23 advantage, and quickly established themselves in the third quarter.
   After a quick basket by Central's John LeSueur, the Cyclones ripped off a 9-2 run to take a 36-29 advantage. Eric Stout led the charge with a pair of steals leading to transition buckets for the Cyclones.
   Stout finished with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting, as is giving the Cyclones solid all-around play, at both ends of the floor.
   B.J. Miller scored 16 points, overcoming some first half shooting woes, by finishing the night two-for-five from the floor, and canning all six of his free throws.
   "(Central's) game is energy, and playing three night's in a row probably took some of that away from them," said Hardin. "I think it bothered them physically."
   Central's head coach Tony Vaughn didn't dispute Hardin's assessment saying, "I don't think we all showed up ready to compete. I thought some did, some didn't. We had no rhythm and didn't help each other out."
   The Cyclones took third in the tournament, having lost to a quick, sharp-shooting Knox Bearden squad 65-49 on Friday night.
   In that contest Redd drew some early foul trouble, and was never able to establish himself inside, as the Bulldogs took a 37-19 halftime advantage.
   Alex Oliver scored 24 points, mostly on lightning-quick drives off the dribble, and post Winston Robinson added 11 points to the Bearden effort.
   Stout scored 10 points for the Cyclones and grabbed seven boards.
   "We didn't make very good decisions defensively," said Hardin. "Oliver really hurt us in the first half. Knox Bearden is a good 3-A team, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them play in Murfreesboro."
  
   Cyclones seize consolation honorsBy Allen LaMountain
   ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
   BRISTOL, Va. -- On Saturday, the Elizabethton Cyclones got a free sneak preview of a team that is considered to be among the top squads in the Watauga Conference: Sullivan Central.
   Central won't play the Cyclones again until January 6, which is good, because it will probably take the Cougars that long to get over the 62-45 drubbing the Cyclones laid on them Saturday night at the Highlands Classic.
   Junior post Vince Redd paced the field with 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the floor. Redd also ripped down 12 boards (four offensive) and blocked two shots in an all-around solid performance.
   "When Vince plays this type of game it makes us a better team," said Cyclone head coach Tony Hardin. "We challenged him a little bit, told him in the dressing room, 'We're coming to you buddy.' We felt that with Lester (Bailey) out, that we needed to establish a strong post presence early, and he accepted the challenge."
   Bailey twisted his right ankle against Bearden and did not suit up for Saturday night's contest.
   Elizabethton raced to a 15-9 first quarter lead despite poor shooting from three-point land. Betsy shot just three-of-16 (18.8 percent) from beyond the arc, and were blanked from long range by Bearden on Friday night.
   Led by Redd's 20 point, first half effort, the Cyclones went into the break with a 27-23 advantage, and quickly established themselves in the third quarter.
   After a quick basket by Central's John LeSueur, the Cyclones ripped off a 9-2 run to take a 36-29 advantage. Eric Stout led the charge with a pair of steals leading to transition buckets for the Cyclones.
   Stout finished with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting, as is giving the Cyclones solid all-around play, at both ends of the floor.
   B.J. Miller scored 16 points, overcoming some first half shooting woes, by finishing the night two-for-five from the floor, and canning all six of his free throws.
   "(Central's) game is energy, and playing three night's in a row probably took some of that away from them," said Hardin. "I think it bothered them physically."
   Central's head coach Tony Vaughn didn't dispute Hardin's assessment saying, "I don't think we all showed up ready to compete. I thought some did, some didn't. We had no rhythm and didn't help each other out."
   The Cyclones took third in the tournament, having lost to a quick, sharp-shooting Knox Bearden squad 65-49 on Friday night.
   In that contest Redd drew some early foul trouble, and was never able to establish himself inside, as the Bulldogs took a 37-19 halftime advantage.
   Alex Oliver scored 24 points, mostly on lightning-quick drives off the dribble, and post Winston Robinson added 11 points to the Bearden effort.
   Stout scored 10 points for the Cyclones and grabbed seven boards.
   "We didn't make very good decisions defensively," said Hardin. "Oliver really hurt us in the first half. Knox Bearden is a good 3-A team, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them play in Murfreesboro."