Cyclones hammer Unicoi in Star hoop tournament

By Wes Holtsclaw

   Just like 'you couldn't touch' M.C. Hammer, the Unicoi County 12-13 Blue Devils 'couldn't touch' Austin Taylor.
   As his 17 points led the T.A. Dugger 7th Graders to a dominant 53-42 win over the Devils in the first round of the Elizabethton STAR Holiday Classic at the Boys and Girls Club.
   "We played an awful first half," said Cyclone coach Ryan Witten, "We haven't practiced since last Friday, because of the holidays and everything. But in the second half we came out and played good defense and made some breaks. That always helps."
   The first half started out at a back-to-back pace, as Cody Wilson and Travis Hensley led the Unicoi team early, as they took a commanding charge in the game.
   However, it wouldn't last as Preston Smith and Josh Guinn nailed some key shots from beyond the perimeter to lead the Cyclones to a lead late in the half.
   Good defense from Weston Issacs and Austin Taylor made the spots open for the 'Orange and Black Attack' as they took a commanding 27-13 lead into the second half.
   The second half recipe for the Cyclones featured a helping of defense, with a side of Austin Taylor.
   Taylor pulled the stops and scored 13 of his 17 points in the half, stalling the Sam Ford and the Unicoi attack, helping the Clones hold onto their lead.
   Blake Hopson and Travis Bishop provided the necessary coverage to help Witten's team roll away with a 53-42 win over Unicoi.
   "There's not any tournaments for the teams around here," said Witten, "So we played in this one. It's good expirience for us."
   Johnson County................15
   Just like the movie 'Jaws', the Sharks team took a bite out of the Johnson County Longhorns, providing a dominant 79-15 win for Morgan Woodacre's club.
   "We played a good game," said Woodacre, "We got some good plays early, and took it from there."
   The first period proved that young teams can play with the best of them, as the Sharks showed the capacity crowd what fundamentals were all about.
   Nate Dinkle was the first player on the team to dominate early, going five for five at the three point line, and leading the team with his 21 points.
   B.J. Nave (12 points) and Michael Walsh (16 points) also played excellent ball in the first half, leading the Sharks to a demanding 45-2 lead after one.
   Aaron Woodacre (11 points) and Herbie Regalade (15 points) had big second halfs, as the Sharks continued their dominance as they prevailed 79-15 in the contest.
   Losers bracket
   Unicoi County................................57
   Johnson County............................46
   In the losers bracket final, Unicoi County rolled to a 57-46 win over Johnson County to advance in the tourney.
   Led by Dusty Stephenson's 19 points, the Devils overcame a Johnson County lead late in the first half to take a 21-19 lead over the Longhorns.
   The second half was a tough battle both ways, but Ryan Pagett helped the Devils stay on top, as they won the contest 57-46.
   Johnson County's Megan Bickmore led all scores with 20.