Cloudland picks up two over Unaka

Published 11:39 pm Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Tuesday night inside Unaka High School, the Cloudland Lady Highlanders were able to fight off a fourth-quarter push by the Lady Rangers to pick up a 60-55 conference win.

Lady Highlanders’ Shian Strickland led Cloudland (9-8, 2-1) in scoring with 20 points, while freshman Trinity Vines followed up with 13.

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This is the second-straight conference win for Cloudland, after Saturday’s win over North Greene.

“It feels great, and we just want to keep on doing it,” Strickland said about her team’s back-to-back conference wins.

For Vines, who is seeing a lot of playing time as a freshman, moving into high school ball has been something to get use to.

“It has definitely been different, but I realized that I needed to step up and help the team,” she said. “It is fun, but difficult.”

The Lady Highlanders got off to a slow start but were able to pick up steam in the second quarter. Down 18-14 with 4:35 left in the first half the Lady Highlander were able to put together 12 unanswered points to grab a 26-22 lead heading to the half. The late-half drive was powered by Shian Strickland and Trinity Vines, who both contributed four points each, with Strickland nailing back-to-back buckets to tie things up at 20. Vines connected two fouls shots to give the Lady Highlanders a 22-20 lead with 2:14 left in the half. Heading into halftime, the Lady ’Landers led 26-22.

Coming into the second quarter, Cloudland trailed Unaka 17-7. In the first period, three treys from Savannah Tipton, Hannah Tipton, and Katlyn Burrow allowed the Lady Rangers to stake an early lead over Cloudland.

After the half, the Lady ’Landers were able to maintain their lead, while heading into the final frame up 44-35. The Lady Rangers, however, found their footing in the final frame as staged a comeback.

Lady Rangers Katlyn Weaver tacked on 7 points of a 10-2 run by Unaka (12-7, 1-2) cutting the Lady Highlanders’ lead to two points with 5:21 left in the game. The Lady Highlanders were able to post five-consecutive points to push their  lead out to 54-47 with 4:12 remaining on the clock. With less than two minutes to play, Unaka’s Hannah Tipton made two from the foul line to tie things up at 54, before Cloudland’s Stacia Wilson quickly answered with a bucket to push her team back out to a 2-point lead. The Lady Rangers were only able muster up one more point, while Cloudland’s Strickland picked up four to close out the game.

“It got a little nerve racking, but we knew we needed to step it up,” Strickland said about Unaka’s fourth-quarter push. “We wanted to win, and we knew what to do.”

The Lady Rangers were led in scoring by Weaver, who had 13 points.

Cloudland 75,

Unaka 36 (Boys)

The Highlanders found their groove Tuesday night as they sped out to a 75-36 conference win over the Rangers.

Four double-digit games by Colby Birchfield (16), Chris Wagoner (15), Preston Benfield (14), and Jason Potter (13) allowed the Highlanders (11-7, 3-0) to win their second straight Watauga Valley Conference game, after defeating North Greene on Saturday.

After one, Cloudland had a 17-12 lead, before taking off in the second period, out scoring Unaka (8-10, 1-2) 19-4 to head into halftime up 36-16.

In the third period, the Highlanders were able keep up their pace, while out running Unaka 22-16, before sealing the deal in final frame. The Highlanders out scored Unaka 17-4 in the final quarter.

“Our kids did a good job defensively,” Cloudland head coach Gary Harrison said. “I was really proud of our defensive effort. We made every bucket tough.

“Coach (Aaron) Dugger does a great job and this is a tough place to play,” Harrison added.

Unaka’s Colton Chambers led the game in scoring with 24 points.

Cloudland 60-55

Unaka 55

Cloudland 60

Shian Strickland 20, Trinity Vines 13, Payton Johnson 9, Lisa Ellis 5, Stacia Wilson 4, Megan Lunsford 7, Erin Julian 2

Unaka 55

Katlyn Weaver 13, Hannah Tipton 9, Savannah Tipton 9, Sierra Wright 8, Katlyn Burrow 6, Sarah Tipton 2, Myah Parlier 2, Erika Parlier 2, Lexi Garland 2, Sydney Markland 2

3pt goals— Cloudland 3 ( Ellis 2, Vines) Unaka 5 (Burrow 2, Sav. Tipton 2, H. Tipton)


Cloudland 75-36

Unaka 36

Cloudland 17 19 22 17 — 75

Unaka 12 4 16 4 — 36

Cloudland 75

Colby Birchfield 16, Chris Wagoner 15, Preston Benfield 14, Jason Potter 13, Jesse Potter 7, Brinkley Mull 2, Noah Arnett 3, Robert Leeper 2, Dalton Vines 2, Malachi Benfield 1

Unaka 36

Colton Chambers 24, John Ramsey 3, Justin Houghton 3, Isaac Hill 3, Joe Searfoss 2, Gary Wright 2, John Hardin 2

3pt goals —  Cloudland 6 (Birchfield 3, Je.Potter, Wagoner, Arnett), Unaka 2 (Ramsey, Hill)