Record night by Miller keys Cyclone win

By Allen LaMountain

   KINGSPORT - A record-tying night at Sullivan North High saw Elizabethton senior guard B.J. Miller light up the Golden Raiders for 39 points in a 54-37 win on Friday night. Miller was red-hot hitting on nine-of-13 shots from three-point distance in carrying the bulk of the scoring load for Betsy as North's defense collapsed on Cyclones center Vince Redd all night.
   Miller tied the EHS record of 39 points in a game set in 1984-85 by Elvin Brown, and Miller's nine triples also set a school record.
   "B.J. is a gym rat," commented Cyclones head coach Tony Hardin. "He works his tail off every day in the gym, so he has earned it. I expected us (as a team) to be a little rusty, we don't have our legs just yet. We are not a basketball team yet."
   Sullivan North (0-4, 0-1) looked primed for a stunning Watauga Conference opening game upset as the Raiders led 23-21 at the break and continued to lead after three quarters 36-35 behind a styfling zone defense that forced Betsy (1-0, 1-0) to have to shoot from the perimeter.
   Luckily Miller was up to the task - hitting three triples in the first quarter - on his way to tying a single-game Elizabethton scoring record with 39 points.
   "I give it all to my teammates," said Miller. "They are the ones that got me the ball when I was open and I feel lucky to have them. It felt pretty good when they started falling in and the guys kept getting me the ball."
   North - led by Phillip Scarsellone and guards Lance Carter and Lee Arnold - kept the pace of the game within reach of the offensively challenged Raiders with a nice mix of zone and man-to-man defenses.
   "Kevin Arnold did a good job defending Redd," said North head coach Bill McCrary. "Once we got into foul trouble things didn't go so well. Our point guard was on the bench and (EHS) started pressing. We have a bunch of young kids here who competed well, but when they got under pressure we didn't execute."
   The Cyclone press erased the one-point Raider lead and in fact Betsy held Sullivan North to one point in the fourth quarter - outscoring North 19-1 in the final stanza - as they pulled away to earn their first win of the season.
   "I don't think we were into this game mentally," Hardin said. "Physically the effort was there, but we were not focused on playing solid off the ball. We are not in good enough shape to press the entire game the way we did in the fourth quarter. Give North credit, they did a super job of taking things away from us in the low post. We didn't play very smart tonight, but that will come as we get in better basketball shape."
   Scarsellone scored 14 for North to lead the way for the Raiders, with Michael Buchanan tallying five and Lee Arnold three. For EHS, Jordan Lambert backed Miller's effort with six points and Redd added five.
   Elizabethton 59
   Sullivan North 44
   Rikki Baughman scored a game-high 30 points, while also being the top rebounder in the contest with nine (seven offensive boards) as the Lady Cyclones pulled away from the Lady Raiders in the second half to win easily.
   Baughman scored 13 first half points as EHS took a 23-16 halftime lead. Elizabethton shot nine-of-25 (36 percent) in the first half, while holding North to just 26.6 percent shooting on five-of-19 from the floor.
   "I don't think Rikki shot very well in the first half," said Lady Cyclones head coach Mike Wilson. "I guess I expect her to make every open shot she has, but she was getting a ton of offensive rebounds and getting a lot of put-backs, which showed a lot of effort."
   'Betsy stretched its advantage to 39-23 after three periods as Wilson used a lot of players in this contest, showing a lot of confidence in youngsters like Whitney Bishop, Eden Treadway and Valerie Kauffield.
   "Bishop came off the bench and she did some good things for us," Wilson said. "I thought she played real well."
   The hot-shooting of Raider point guard Amanda Frazier kept North from being blown out of the gym as she connected on four-of-six three point shots and finished with 23 points on the night.
   "We tried to guard her by forcing her to her left," commented Wilson. "She would take three dribbles left, then reverse back to the right. She dropped some bombs on us."
   Frazier's last trey of the night came in the fourth period and cut the Cyclone lead to 42-30, and shortly after Baughman was hit with a technical foul after a scuffle under the boards.
   Frazier hit one-of-two free throws, but Baughman showed that her fire had not been diminished by the technical as she followed her own missed shot with a put-back bucket as Betsy led 44-30. North - from that point on - never got any closer than nine points behind the rest of the way.
   Sarah Smith chipped in with 11 points and Betsy post Brandi Forbes was good for five points on the night. For North it was hit and miss after Frazier as the Raiders next best scoring option Traci Bernard was ineffective with a thumb injury and hit on just one-of-seven from the floor for four points on the night."We have a lot of kids hurt right now," said Lady Raider head coach Bill Armstrong. "Frazier had her best game of the season so far tonight. We tried to move her around to get better match ups and she played well. But we had no answer for number 23 (Baughman). We couldn't match up in man defense against her."