Cyclones get popping in the second half to eliminate North, 57-32
Published 12:31 am Saturday, February 20, 2016
KINGSPORT— the first 16 minutes of the opening round of the 2016 District 1-AA Boys’ tournament being played at Sullivan South was much like watching a kettle of popcorn getting ready to pop while licking your lips—you knew the ingredients were there but it was just taking too long to start popping.
Fortunately for the second-seed Elizabethton Cyclones when the heat finally started to hit, the Cyclones managed to turn a 20-14 halftime lead into a 57-32 victory over Sullivan North and advance to next week’s regional tournament.
Elizabethton (17-10) just couldn’t get into a fluid flow in the first half doing just enough to take the small lead to the locker room against the determined Raiders (3-21).
“I was upset at halftime,” said Cyclone head coach Lucas Honeycutt. “We weren’t fluid in the first half and I don’t think we were sprinting a lot.
“I think we were playing hard transition wise, but I didn’t think we were playing very smart,” added Honeycutt. “We lost them a few times in transition and gave them some easy buckets. We weren’t very good guarding the ball. This game seems to be one of those that the kids just think about it too much. Hopefully they will loosen up and play better the next two games.”
Michael Robinson’s seven points and five from Jalen Smith propelled the Cyclones to the advantage.
Zach Byrns netted six and Tyler Arnold five to keep the Raiders in contention.
Whatever Honeycutt said to his troops at the half was enough to light the burner red-hot as the Cyclones came out and quickly established the momentum as Bo Pless took over the game for Elizabethton by knocking down nine points in the third period.
The spurt by the senior post pushed the lead to 37-24 heading into the final eight minutes.
When the fourth quarter started it was another Cyclone who picked up the lead as Hayden Townsend asserted himself in a big way scoring nine points to make sure the Cyclones would live another day.
“I’ve been riding Hayden for a long time now about just stepping up and at halftime I told him we want you to shoot the basketball if you get the open look,” said Honeycutt. “I took him out after he passed up a three one time. We just want him to be more aggressive and confident in himself.”
Townsend and Pless led all scorers with 15 points apiece in the contest. Robinson had a quiet night after the first half scoring 11.
“He’s (Honeycutt) always wanting me to be more aggressive on offense, so I looked more for it tonight,” said Townsend. “We are going to need to play more lock-down defense in our next game and get better at getting the ball to the basket on offense.”
Teve Mushayamunda and Smith registered seven points each while Alex Norwood collected two points.
Byrns led North in scoring with 14. Devin Price contributed eight with Arnold finishing his night with seven.
The Cyclones will play Unicoi Co. (18-11) today at 4:30 in one semifinal looking to gain a home court regional game.
DISTRICT 1-AA BOYS’ BASKETBALL TOURNEY
Sullivan North (32)
Zack Byrns 14, Matt Burk 3, Devan Price 8, Tyler Arnold 7.
Michael Robinson 11, Teve Mushayamunda 7, Jalen Smith 7, Hayden Townsend 15, Alex Norwood 2, Bo Pless 15.
3-PT GOALS: Sullivan North 3 (Tyler Arnold, Devan Price, Matt Burke). Elizabethton 3 (Michael Robinson, Hayden Townsend, Teve Mushayamunda).