Cyclones fall to Fulton fourth quarter rally

Published 11:48 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2015



For three quarters the Elizabethton Cyclones seemed to have a ticket to Murfreesboro punched, but it is a 32 minute game and in the fourth period things unraveled for EHS. Knox-Fulton (26-4) outscored Betsy 25-6 in the fourth period to take a 64-50 win at Treadway gym on Tuesday night to go to its ninth consecutive state tournament.

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“We had a lot of focus in the fourth quarter,” said Fulton guard Kentel Williams. “We just came out and played like a team. Early on we didn’t have the proper focus we needed to have but at crunch time we came out with more energy and forced some turnovers and got the win. You know, we never lost confidence in ourselves. They crash the boards hard and it took us a little by surprise early on, but we were able to collect ourselves and stop making the mistakes we made.”

Williams scored a game high 19 points and was the catalyst for the Falcons comeback as he knocked down a three point play to open the fourth quarter and cut the EHS lead to 45-42 after the Cyclones had led all three periods.

EHS (23-11) took an 18-9 lead with some hot shooting from Austin Cornett and Tyler Nichols who dropped in a 3-ball at the buzzer of the first period to give the Cyclones a huge lift.

Fulton began to whittle away at the lead and closed to within 25-24 at the half.

“Coach challenged us at halftime to pick up the intensity,” Falcons center Joe Kimber said. “We responded to the challenge in a hostile environment and did what we had to do. Once we got the momentum on Kentel’s three point play we knew then we had a shot, we just had to play the way we can.”

EHS managed to hold a tenuous 44-39 lead after three quarters with junior post Conley Bowers scoring eight of his team high 13 points in the period, but he soon got into foul trouble and that proved a bad sign for the Cyclones.

“We needed somebody to challenge their shots,” Cyclones head coach Lucas Honeycutt said. “A lot of those fouls were a product of Conley trying to do that. They cranked up the pressure in the fourth quarter and we never had the right combination of players on the floor to beat it. We missed Hunter Green who is a great ball handler and free throw shooter, but he just couldn’t go.

“A few possessions can change a game and tonight it made the difference. We missed a ton of free throws against Greeneville and again tonight, but some of that is nerves. That had a lot to do with it.”

Junior forward Bo Pless completed a three-point play to give EHS a 48-42 lead, but Fulton went on a 9-0 run at that point with Kimber hitting a pair of buckets in the paint – his last giving the Falcons their first lead of the game at 49-48.

Bowers hit a pair of free throws to give EHS the lead back, but Fulton closed the game on a 15-0 run to secure the victory.

“We just kept grinding,” Fulton head coach Jody Wright said. “I give Elizabethton a lot of credit. Lucas has done a great job with his program and nothing that happened tonight changed my opinion on that. We knew we had to speed them up and make them uncomfortable and pressure was on of the ways we were able to do that. We fell in love with the three point shot in the first half and that’s not our game. Our game is penetration and attacking the rim, and once we did that successfully it enabled us to get to the free throw line more often.”

In summing up a successful season coach Honeycutt said, “I’m proud of all these guys. It was a huge year for Cyclone basketball. We got good senior leadership and there was a time around Christmas where we didn’t win a game at the tournaments. We had some guys out, but when we are at full strength we played pretty well.”

For Fulton, Kimber scored 12 and Yasmond Fenderson scored 11 to back Williams effort. For EHS, Nichols scored 12 while Michael Robinson, Pless and Cornett each tallied eight.

Boys Sectional

Fulton 64-50

Fulton (64)

Hamilton 4, Fenderson 11, Sheely 2, Williams 19, Satterfield 8, Williams 4, Kimber 12, Suber 4.

EHS (50)

Robinson 8, Nichols 12, Cornett 8, Pless 8, Bowers 13, Jones 1.

Fulton 9 15 15 25 – 64

EHS 18 7 19 6 – 50

3-point goals: F 2 (Satterfield 1, Fenderson 1), EHS 5 (Robinson 2, Cornett 2, Nichols 1)