Benfield leads Cloudland in thriller against Unicoi

Published 12:12 am Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Preston Benfield racked up 18 points during Tuesday night's game with Unicoi.

Preston Benfield racked up 18 points during Tuesday night’s game with Unicoi.

Two fast paced and hard-fought games took place last night in Roan Mountain. The girls game saw Unicoi take the win, while the boys game was a nail-biter, and Cloudland taking the win.


Cloudland 54. Unicoi 53

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  The Cloudland Highlanders snatched a victory last night in Roan Mountain from the Unicoi Blue Devils. Unicoi led a large part of the game, but down the stretch, the Highlanders did what they needed to do in order to take a one point win.

    Head coach Gary Harrison was pleased with the effort his team put forth. “We got off to a slow start and didn’t play defense the way we wanted to, but we buckled down and stepped up our game in the second half,” Harrison said. “Vines set the tone and did big things for us; everybody that stepped on the floor made a big contribution tonight.”

    Unicoi’s Jacob Smith went to work early in the paint and scored four points in less than two minutes. Smith had plenty of help in the scoring department: Trevor Hensley swished a long three, three foul shots, and a deuce in the first quarter alone. For the Highlanders, Jason Potter and Colby Birchfield each had a deuce, while Dalton Vines had four points, and Jesse Potter hit a long three. It wasn’t enough though, and at the end of the one, Unicoi was up 17-11.

    Senior Chris Wagoner started the second quarter with an and-one play for the Highlanders, followed by Preston Benfield with two foul shots. Unicoi’s lead was down to one point, but on the next two drives, Clay Simpson and Dylan Putman put up four points. Cloudland’s P. Benfield cut loose for eight points in the second quarter and tied the game with 1:08 left before halftime. Unicoi’s Eli Gillis, however, hit a shot to put the Blue Devils on top 29-27 before the heading to the locker rooms.

    Cloudland’s P. Benfield started the third quarter scoring when he drove to the lane and laid it in the basket. Fellow Highlander Vines added four points. Unicoi’s Putman, however, put in a strong showing the third quarter with ten points, and the Blue Devils held a one point lead at the end of the third.

    At the 7:12 mark of the last quarter, Vines hit a block shot to put Cloudland in the lead. Freshman Josh Blair sank a big three pointer for the ‘Landers, but Unicoi’s Chase McNabb, Simpson, Hunter Hensley, and T. Hensley kept sinking buckets to keep the game interesting. The lead switched hands several times. With less than a minute to play, P. Benfield hit a bucket and a foul shot to ice the win for the Highlanders.


P. Benfield-18; Birchfield-6; Blair-3; Wagoner-3; Je. Potter-8; Vines-12; Ja. Potter-4


H. Hensley-2; Putman-15; Gillis-2; T. Hensley-15; McNabb-6; Simpson-8; Smith-5