Region 1-AA Semifinals: Cyclones skin Grizzlies to advance to finals, sectional 57-47

Published 11:29 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2016


RUTLEDGE— After bagging the Panthers in the opening round of the regional tournament, the Elizabethton Cyclones were looking to hang another trophy on the wall when they tangled with the Grizzles from Grainger in the semifinals Tuesday evening.

Behind a stingy defense which allowed the home standing Grizzles no points in the opening quarter, the Cyclones withstood a third quarter rally and advanced to Thursdays finals with a 57-47 win.

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“I don’t know if everybody expected that,” said Cyclone head coach Lucas Honeycutt. “There were a few people who still supported us. We have had great fan support even on the road and it’s nice to just come and get a big win like this and have a chance at another sub-state game and a chance at another regional championship.

“We will have a good opponent either way with Sullivan East or Greeneville,” added Honeycutt. “We are looking forward to going out and playing another game and just relax a little bit. It takes a lot off the kids knowing it’s not win or go home. It’s fun, and we pretty much have that goal every year where we want to get over the hump and make the state tournament, and we’re just going to give it everything we’ve got.”

After the scoreless opening quarter, Grainger soon found the shooting touch and trimmed the Cyclone advantage to 20-16.

Michael Robinson’s eight points and five from Alex Norwood helped Elizabethton build the four-point lead. Dalton Conn helped to lead Grainger back with six points in the second period while Nathan Hayes added five.

Many expected the Grizzlies to make a run in the third and they did as Marquice Fifield scored five and five others added a deuce each to make the score 33-31 Cyclones heading into the fourth.

Bo Pless had four points to help the Cyclones maintain their lead with four points in the period.

With the finals hanging in the balance, the Cyclones managed to withstand the Grizzlies roar and eventually began pulling away after squeezing a 40-39 lead with 3:22 left to play in the game.

Robinson was money down the stretch from the charity stripe as the junior hit 8-of-9 in the fourth quarter to go along with three field goals tallying 14 in the stanza.

“In the district we didn’t play anywhere near as what we are good as, and we came in here thinking we shouldn’t have been a four-seed at all,” said Robinson. “We felt like we should have been a one-seed in district. We just came out and did our jobs in the region and this is what happens.”

The Cyclones also received yeomen’s work from Adam Cornett who came in for Eric Wilson after he fouled out and was able to run the Cyclone offense fluidly.

Robinson finished with 25 points in leading all scorers in the contest. Pless also reached double figures with 14 for the Cyclones. Norwood chipped in with seven while Teve Mushayamunda collected six.

Conn led the Grizzlies with 18 in the game. Hayes finished with nine.

Elizabethton will play Greeneville at  7 p.m.  on Thursday for the regional championship. If the Cyclones win Thursday, they will host a sectional game on Monday, but if they lose, they will travel on Monday. 



Elizabethton, 57-47

Elizabethton (57)

Adam Cornett 1, Michael Robinson 25, Teve Mushayamunda 6, Jalen Smith 2, Eric Wilson 2, Alex Norwood 7, Bo Pless 14.

Grainger (47)

Nathan Hayes 9, Marquice Fifield 4, Dane Farrow 2, Jacob Bunch 2, Dalton Conn 18, Ty Brooks 4, Andrew Robinson 2, Justin Warner 6.

Elizabethton…….  9   11   13   24 – 57

Grainger…………  0   16   15   16– 47

3-PT Goals: Elizabethton 4 (Michael Robinson 2, Bo Pless, Teve Mushayamunda). Grainger 4 (Nathan Hayes, Dalton Conn 2, Justin Warner).