Defense stifles Lady 'Landers

By Wes Holtsclaw

   The Daniel Boone Lady Trailblazers pressed till the end.
   After leading the first half and falling prey to a Cloudland comeback, the Lady 'Blazers jumped out with tenacious execution in the third quarter against the Lady 'Landers and never looked back, taking a 48-40 victory in Smith Gymnasium last night.
   "We played hard," said Cloudland coach Matt Birchfield. "We didn't shoot the ball real well, and their press really hurt us. It caused several turnovers for us.
   "Coach Tim Campbell has a great ball club. We knew they were athletic coming in, and we didn't handle them well. We were thirty percent from the floor, and you're not going to beat a good team like that with those numbers."
   In a highlight moment for Cloudland, Tara Hanson reached the 1,000 point mark in her career during the first quarter. However, she ended the game with only six points.
   Said Birchfield: "They really defensed up on her tonight. It was a good philosophy by them -- we didn't giver her many shots.
   "I'm happy with her 1,000 tonight. It's been three years in a row for us with players reaching that. It's good for our program and she's a very deserving leader, a great athlete, and a tremendous student."
   Cloudland couldn't overcome the Lady Trailblazers early in the contest, as Boone took the first quarter by an 18-9 margin. Jamie Massengill and Allison Langrel were dominant inside, while Kacie Letterman and Laura Hilton proved to be legitimate outside threats.
   Cloudland rallied back behind Amy Storie and Holly Blair in the second quarter, holding Boone scoreless through the first five minutes; eventually coming within one point at the half.
   Cloudland took a short lead of three points in the third quarter, but the Lady Trailblazers took over and never looked back.
   Langrel scored six of her 16 points in the quarter, while Jamie Perry and Ashley Barnett provided great defensive pressure on Cloudland.
   Cloudland rallied behind freshman Jessica Lunsford's eight points in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough as the AAA squad overwhelmed Cloudland in the end.
   It was a close win for Boone, who only has two losses this season to Morristown West, after blowing an 18-point lead, and defending North Carolina Private School champion Charlotte Christian.
   Langrel led all scoring with her 16, while teammate Jamie Massengill added ten. Storie and Lunsford led Cloudland with eight a piece.
   "I was pleased with Jessica's effort out there tonight," said Birchfield. "She's playing well, and stepping up as a freshman. Amy Storie had a great game inside for us."
   Daniel Boone 61
   Cloudland 46
   Daniel Boone started on top, and overwhelmingly ended there as well.
   Coach Bobby Snyder's crew blasted out with three strong quarters of offense and defense against the Highlanders, including a third quarter stall of two points for Cloudland taking the 61-46 victory.
   "Boone did a great job tonight," said Cloudland coach Ned Smith. "I thought our kids played hard. Coach Snyder is a great coach and does a good job with his team.
   "Robbie (Tolley) played an excellent game for us tonight. We've just got to keep our heads up and work hard. Eventually, it will pay off for us."
   Scott Ploucha helped the Trailblazers blast out to a lead early on
   Cloudland, with the backing to teammate Rodney Sells. Robbie Tolley accounted for over half of Cloudland's offense in the first half, as Boone controlled the Highlanders guards.
   Boone saw good performances from their bench tonight, as Ryan Doyle and Aaron Cox put some good minutes into the game.
   Cloudland didn't get going offensively until the fourth quarter, putting up 21 of their points led by Cole Gouge's ten.
   Tolley led the game in scoring for the Highlanders with his 14, while Boone's Ploucha tipped in 12.
   "They had a great team out there tonight," said Tolley after the game. "We fought hard and did pretty good inside on them, they were just the better team. With more practice and hard work, we will be better."