Redd, 'Clones tame Tigers in semifinals

By Allen LaMountain


   BRISTOL, Va. -- The lane has become a most unfriendly place for Elizabethton Cyclone foes, especially when they arrive at Betsy's roadblock, a 6-7" senior post named Vince Redd.
   Redd's mere presence deters even the most daring of offensive artists in the paint, as the Honaker Tigers found out on Friday night at Bearcat Gym, where 'Betsy toppled the Tigers 50-41 to advance to the title contest.
   "He creates so many matchup problems," said Honaker head coach Trevor Coleman. "With the big guy in the middle (EHS) dictated what we could do offensively. They can take chances with the press knowing they have him back there."
   Redd led the way for 'Betsy with 14 points, and as always, he was a defensive force with three blocked shots and cleaned the glass with 10 boards. He also fought through some tightness in the back of his legs to post his most complete game of the young season.
   "Vince got the 'Badge of Courage' award tonight," said Cyclones head coach Tony Hardin. "He had some muscle spasms that bothered him coming out for the second half. He gutted it out and played well as the game went on."
   The Cyclones (3-0) -- as has become their pattern thus far -- forced the Tigers into 18 turnovers, with 'Betsy also collecting 10 steals. The biggest thief among the 'Betsy defenders was junior guard Lester Bailey who robbed the Tigers five times.
   "We know we have to 'D- up'" said Bailey. "We can't give any slack. We just keep the pressure turned up and force bad things to happen to the other team. We get great court leadership from our seniors and the bench did a great job."
   The Cyclones opened the contest with an 11-0 run that ended on a Tyler Ball three-pointer for Honaker (1-1). A Jordan Lambert trey made it an 18-3 game as Betsy finished the opening stanza with an 18-10 advantage.
   "EHS opened up like a house afire," said Coleman. "We fell behind and we were trying to get back into it, but we just had trouble converting. They switched defenses well and when they trapped we turned the ball over."
   Neither team shot well in the second period and Betsy went into the break with a 25-17 lead. In the first half the Cyclones shot 11-of-28 (39.3 percent), while holding the Tigers to five-of-25 (20 percent) shooting and forcing 11 turnovers.
   Hardin was elated in the way his team played -- as no one player had a particularly great game -- but felt they had won with a solid team effort.
   "It was a total team effort tonight," Hardin said. "We want to play with a lot of energy and we did that. I thought that Lester made (some) plays tonight that stood out. He blocked that shot on the breakaway and had the steal and lay-in when Honaker was making a threat. I don't think I have ever coached a kid with that kind of talent."
   EHS took a 34-29 lead into the fourth quarter but the Tigers showed they have some fight in them as a three-point play from forward David Mullins and a trey from Tyler Patrick cut the EHS lead to 30-23.
   A deuce by Ball, as the third period closed, made it a 34-29 game and threatened to turn the momentum towards the Tigers as the fourth quarter opened.
   Mullins dropped in a deuce to make it a 34-31 game, but Redd responded with a two-handed dunk off a feed from Walter Brown and Lambert followed his own miss with a putback to give EHS a 38-31 advantage.
   Bailey then picked Ball's pocket at midcourt and raced in for a layup to make it a 40-31 game, and effectively ending Honaker's run.
   "That number three is quick," Coleman stated. "He really forced our offense to start at half court."
   Another trey by Ball stopped the bleeding momentarily for Honaker, but Lambert and Mullins then traded buckets before Redd once again took center stage.
   Taking another alley-oop pass from Brown, Redd threw down a monstrous two-handed dunk and after a steal by B.J. Miller, Redd took the pass to the left of the paint and drove in for another two-handed slam to make it a 46-36 contest with 1:35 left in regulation.
   Miller finished with 12 points, while Lambert tallied 13 for 'Betsy. Mullins paced Honaker with 14 points and was backed by 10 points from D.J. Hall and nine from Patrick.