Cyclones reign supreme

By Allen LaMountain

ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
awlamountain@starhq.com

   BRISTOL Va. -- Elizabethton senior post Vince Redd scored a game-high 20 points en route to being named MVP of the Highlands Classic tournament played at Bearcat Gym on Saturday night.
   Redd led the Cyclones (4-0) inside game with five demoralizing dunks in a 69-53 win over Watauga Conference foe Sullivan Central in a team effort that saw 'Betsy open slowly but finish with a fury.
   "We sent them a message that we will come out and play hard every night," said Redd, who also collected 11 rebounds and blocked two shots.
   Senior forward Jordan Lambert scored 18 points while guard Walter Brown chipped in with 13 on the night. Lambert caught fire in the first half, knocking down a pair of threes as EHS took a 35-24 lead at the half after trailing the Cougars 12-11 after one period.
   "I think it's going to be three wars this year whenever we play Central," said EHS head coach Tony Hardin. "Walter exemplified how we want to play defense. He had the assignment of covering LeSueur and he did a great job."
   Joe LeSueur scored 19 points for Central, but was quiet much of the second half as Brown's quickness denied him the ball in his favorite spots.
   "Coach just wants us to bring intensity and energy to the court and that's what I try to do," said Brown. "At halftime I was told to man up with him and try to get him frustrated."
   Brown succeeded as LeSueur shot just the ball just 14 times in the contest, hitting seven, but the Cougars could never establish the running game, nor the inside game with 6-5 post Matt Dunford. Dunford was held to a single point in the first half, but came on in the second half to score 15 points on the night.
   Leading by 11, 'Betsy came on strong in the third period going on a 7-0 run to open a 42-24 advantage before a free throw by LeSueur ended the string. Central was not able to mount a serious comeback, however, as the Cyclones led 51-37 after three periods.
   Redd opened the fourth period by taking an alley-oop pass from B.J. Miller and slamming it home and Lambert canned a deuce shortly thereafter to give EHS a 55-37 lead.
   After a trey from Chris Martin brought Central to within 57-40, Redd went dunk-happy once again as this time it was Brown with the feed.
   "There's no set signal for when I go for it," said Redd. "The guys just see me and they get me the ball in the right spot."
   The closest Central could get from that point on was 59-43 after a trey by Dunford.
   Junior Varsity
   Sullivan Central 48
   Elizabethton 25
   Early jitters got a hold of the JV Cyclones as 'Betsy turned the ball over on four straight trips down the floor while Central built an 8-0 lead, but Jeremy Robinson hit a trey to jumpstart the EHS offense once again.
   'Betsy scratched and clawed its way back to make it a 25-19 game at the half, and in the third period closed to within 27-23, but could get no closer as the Cyclones went cold from the floor.
   From that point on Central went on a seven-point run to open a 34-23 lead, and 'Betsy could not recover.
   "The jitters were there," said EHS JV head coach Richard VanHuss. "Central is the best JV team we will face all year, and I told the guys that they have to step it up. With all the seniors we lose next year, these guys are it. We just ran out of gas at the end."
   Bradley Brown led the Cyclones with 12 points while Robinson chipped in with seven. Central was led by Jeff Beverly's 12-point effort.