Lady Highlanders take down Sullivan Central

By Travis Brown
STAR Correspondent

   Solid fundamentals often lead to convincing victories; such was the case for the Cloudland Lady Highlanders Thursday night as they defeated the visiting Sullivan Central Lady Cougars by a convincing 46-28 tally.
   In a losing effort, Lady Cougar coach Gary Surcey praised the effort the Lady 'Landers put forth. "They handled the press, they handled our pressure, and they played well," Surcey said. "We didn't play well and we got beat."
   The contest was not all Cloudland, despite a dominant first period performance. The Lady Highlanders pulled out to an impressive 15-4 lead looking to continue success into the second period.
   The Lady Cougars would post their only solid offensive effort of the contest during the second as two turnovers and subsequent scores by Claire Davis and Beth Shelton put Central back into the contest during the second period.
   Cloudland head coach Matt Birchfield saw the second half threat as a need to refocus at halftime, "We shot real well the first quarter," Birchfield said, "We had a couple of turnovers, they hit two big three-pointers, and we had to bounce back."
   The second half brought more of the same for both teams. Shooting problems caused an offensive stall for Central as they could not get the shots to fall.
   Cloudland saw considerable trouble shooting as well, but a strong presence on the boards and 6 points from April Williams established the Lady 'Landers in deep. The second chance opportunities were a welcome sight for Birchfield as physical play remains important for his club. "I'm real happy with our physical play," Birchfield said. "We wanted to step it up on offense, and playing physical is part of that."
   Leading 35-21 heading into the final quarter, things looked well in hand for the Lady Highlanders as the Cougars simply could not find an offensive solution to the 'Lander pressure.
   The fourth quarter brought more unrelenting defense from the Lady Highlanders, and their halfcourt game continued to pose problems for Central. Combined with poor foul shooting, the Cougars only posted 7 points in the period.
   Solid foul shooting and a strong presence inside extended the Highlander lead throughout the fourth quarter. In the absence of a late charge, the Highlanders went on to take the contest by an 18-point margin.
   After the game, Surcey showed respect for his opponent, "They played well in their halfcourt game," Surcey said "We just made too many mistakes."
   Despite the convincing victory, Birchfield hopes to keep his troops focused as an upcoming matchup with the Daniel Boone Lady Trailblazers will test his team's ability. "We must continue to take care of the basketball, and play well physically," Birchfield said. "We did that tonight and we have to continue that against Boone."