Lady 'Landers move to final tourney round

By David Coulson
STAR Correspondent

   BOONE, N.C.- The names may have changed, but the results have been the same for Cloudland High at the Bandana's Barbecue Prep Classic.
   The defending champion Lady Landers may have an all-new starting lineup, but they used a hot start to steamroll past Union Pines 52-35 Saturday evening and into a championship game showdown against J.L. Mann of Greenville, S.C.
   J.L. Mann advanced to Monday's 9 p.m. final by outlasting Elizabethton 54-42 on Saturday afternoon. Elizabethton meets Union Pines for third place at 4 p.m. Monday.
   In consolation action, Johnson County couldn't hold off a fourth-quarter rush from Haysi, Va. in a 64-41 loss. Johnson County faces Avery County at 9:30 a.m. Monday for seventh place.
   Coming off a shaky performance Friday, in a 52-41 win over Avery, Cloudland wasted little time in jumping on a talented Union Pines club. The Lady 'Landers raced out to a 16-2 lead and never looked back.
   With April Williams hitting 9-of-15 shots from the field and 7-of-9 from the free throw line for 25 points, Cloudland never allowed the Lady Vikings to get within double figures the rest of the game.
   Jessica Lunsford made the most of her opportunities at the free throw line, threading 9-of-10 shots on the way to a 17-point, seven-rebound performance.
   Defensively, the Lady 'Landers limited Union Pines senior star Lisa Jackson to 13 points and seven rebounds. Jackson had piled up 25 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and five steals in a 51-45 quarterfinal win over host Watauga on Friday night.
   Jackson picked up two fouls in the first period and another in the second quarter to limit her effectiveness.
   Center Carly Shiflett was the only other Union Pines player with double figures, with 10 points. Cloudland limited Union Pines to 36.4 percent shooting.
   Union Pines didn't help its cause by missing all 10 of its free throw attempts, and by hitting a chilly 3-of-17 three-point attempts (17.6 percent). Cloudland shot 46 percent from the field and 84 percent from the free throw line.
   Lady 'Lander Heather Banner won the three-point contest.
   Elizabethton overcame a poor start to climb back to within 22-19 at halftime. The Lady Cyclones were still in striking distance at 35-30 going to the fourth quarter, but they came undone in the final minutes of a 12-point loss.
   Elizabethton received 10 points each from Rikki Baughman, Brandi Forbes and Victoria Hopson, but the Lady Cyclones committed 27 turnovers - many of them in the fourth period, and were just 10-of-20 from the charity stripe. Baughman assisted her team with fourteen rebounds.
   Trevonne Williams paced J.L. Mann with 19 points, 11 rebounds, four steals, three assists, and a blocked shot. Amber Camp added 11 points for the Lady Patriots.
   Johnson County managed to hang close to Haysi for three quarters, trailing 42-34. But the Lady Tigers outscored the Lady Longhorns 22-8 in the final frame to turn the game into a rout.
   Johnson County made only 11-of-20 free throws (55 percent) and committed 19 turnovers.
   Larae Boyd led Haysi with 21 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, while Whitney Compton added 16 points, eight rebounds, and four assists.
   Elena Owens, looking to make the Prep Classic all-tournament team for the third straight year, led Johnson County with 12 points and six rebounds. April McCLoud added 10 points and six assists, but also turned the ball over seven times.