Region 1-AA Semifinals: Lady Cyclones storm past Lady Warriors

Published 11:31 pm Monday, February 29, 2016


Even though the skies were clear over Grainger High School Monday night, the Lady Cyclones were on the floor wreaking havoc during their Region 1-AA Semifinal match up with Happy Valley.

Elizabethton, after a quick start that saw them hustle out to a 18-6 lead after one quarter of play, rallied out to a 60-34 win, setting them up to face off with the Grainger Lady Grizzlies in the Region Championship on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Monday’s win, which put the Lady Cyclones 31-0 on the season, guarantees them a sectional game.

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The Marosites twins, Kayla and Kelci, spearheaded ’Betsy’s attack, with Kayla chipping in 17 and Kelci providing 15 points.

The Lady Cyclones’ win over shadowed a special night for Happy Valley senior Kalee Johnson, who scored her 2000th point during the contest.

However, after the game Johnson, was more worried about the loss than her most recent milestone.

“I would give up all of my 2000 points to have won the game,” she said.

Elizabethton Head Coach Len Dugger made it clear after Monday’s game that the Lady Cyclones respect Johnson and her many accomplishments.

“Kalee is a tremendous player that I respect and think the world of,” he said. “Our players respect her and think the world of her.

“She has been a work horse for four years,” Dugger added. “I can say all kinds of positive things about her as a basketball player, but the thing I want to say the most about her is the fact that she is a tremendous young lady.”

When thinking back at his time coaching Johsnon, Happy Valley Head Coach Larry Abel had one simple word come to mind.

“I use a three letter word when I think of KJ, and that is ‘wow,”’ Abel said. “She is amazing to watch play and East Tennessee will miss seeing her athletic ability. But I hope that KJ has a bright career at UVA-Wise.”

Johnson finished Monday night’s game with 11 points.

The Lady Cyclones’ first quarter frenzy was helped along by three consecutive 3-pointers, Kelci Marosites raining two and Haley Burleson providing the other. The three trifectas was a part of a 15-2 run in the first quarter.

The Lady Cyclones kept up the heat in the second quarter, out scoring Happy Valley 21-11 to take a 39-17 lead into the locker rooms. Both of the Marosites sisters provided seven points in the period. While Emily Kiser chipped in with five points in the frame. Kiser ended the night with nine points. For Happy Valley, Kaitlyn Roberts provided seven points to the Lady Warriors’ second-frame scoring.

In the third period, the Lady Warriors were able to turn the tables and out scored EHS 11-9. Happy Valley’s Charli Bare and Roberts opened up the quarter with four straight points. However, the Lady Cyclones responded with a 8-2 run to extend their lead to 47-23 with 1:41 left in the third period. Bare knocked down a bucket  and Happy Valley’s Adrienne Heneger popped a three down the stretch, while Elizabethton’s Kiser hit a foul shot to close out the quarter with the Lady Cyclones up 48-28.

After a slow third quarter, the Lady Cyclones out paced Happy Valley 12-6 in the fourth to seal the deal.

“There was as much pressure on this game as any game in the season,” Dugger said. “But I don’t think the pressure bothered us. We tried to do some things a little differently, we probably got ourselves out of sync a little bit. I will take the responsibility for that.

“I thought we did a lot of good things,” Dugger added. “At the end of four quarters, I just want to be on the winning side of that thing.”

The Lady Warriors wrapped up their season with a 24-10 record. Wrapping up their high school basketball careers were five seniors: Johnson, Bare, Brianna Buck, Sydney Puckett, and Kenzie Davis.

“Twenty-four wins is great, but it is kind of empty, when you bow out and don’t get to advance on,” Abel said Monday evening.

“I can’t say enough about the five seniors,” he added. “They all hold a special place in my heart because three of them were apart of my first year coaching. Two of the others came out as sophomores and they are a super great bunch of kids. All five of them are impeccable.”

Elizabethon 60-34

Happy Valley (34)

Johnson 11, Roberts 9, Bare 6, Heneger 3, Whitaker 3, McGee 2.

Elizabethton (60)

Kayla Marosites 17, Kelci Marosites 15, Kiser 9, Schubert 9, Burleson 6, Perry 4.

Happy Valley 6 11 11 6 — 34

Elizabethton 18 21 9 12 — 60

3pt goals — HV 3 (Heneger, Whitaker, Johnson) EHS 7 (Ke. Marosites 3, Kiser 2, Ka. Marosites 1, Burleson 1).