Elizabethton girls, boys set for home sectionals

Published 9:07 pm Friday, March 4, 2016

SP0306 EHS hosts CAK A copy

One was expected to be there and one wasn’t even considered to be a contender before the regional tournament kicked off.

But that is why the game is played as both the Elizabethton Cyclones girls and boys team are now prepped and getting ready for their biggest game of the year starting Saturday night when Gatlinburg-Pittman arrives at John Treadway Gym.

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The Lady Cyclones (32-0) are facing their second straight season playing the Lady Highlanders (25-6) in the sectionals, after Elizabethton dispatched Grainger Wednesday for the regional championship while G-P fell to Knox Fulton in Region 2.

Elizabethton has been season-long favorites to return to The Murphy Center in Murfreesboro for a shot at a second gold ball for the current group of seniors—Kayla Marosites, Kelci Marosites, Emily Kiser, Emily Schubert and Melenda Perry.

A bad taste has lingered in the Lady Cyclones mouth since last March when they fell to Martin Luther King in the state semi-finals, but head coach Len Dugger said after the region final that nothing is a certainty when you get to this stage of the season.

The Lady Cyclones showed a lot of poise and composure at Rutledge this past week, especially in the championship game against Grainger, as there were a lot of heckling and harassing from the student body in regards to the recent TSSAA sanctions.

However, the team responded with confidence and the attitude it will take to win their sectional contest against the Lady Highlanders to continue on the journey they started after the loss last year in the state playoffs.

The Lady Cyclones are a once in a lifetime team for any coach and for any fan of girls high school basketball.

This will be the last time locally that fans will be able to experience this team of seniors at home and Dugger also stated after the region that he hopes that area basketball fans will come out in force to show this group of seniors the respect they deserve for bringing state and national recognition to Elizabethton as a result of the hard work put in by his team.

On the boys’ side, the Cyclones weren’t figuring into the talk of being in a sectional after playing way below expectations in the district tournament finishing as the fourth-seed from District 1-AA.

However, Coach Lucas Honeycutt finally managed to get the ship back on course and there wasn’t a hotter team in the regional as the Cyclones took down Cumberland Gap who was the District 2-AA top seed and followed that up by eliminating the host Grainger Grizzlies in the regional semifinals.

On Thursday night, the Cyclones wrapped up their improbable run by beating Greeneville to earn the home game Monday night against the Christian Academy of Knoxville Warriors (21-9) who were defeated 75-62 by Knox Fulton in the Region 2 final.

The Cyclones and Warriors have met one time already this season as CAK won 76-66 at Science Hill earlier in the season.

Cyclone head coach Lucas Honeycutt said that the Warriors are a well-rounded team, but his team is up to the task.

“CAK is a well-coached team who has good shooters and is very smart. They are a really physical team that likes to get up and down the court. They have a really good point guard.

“We had a really good game from both sides in our first outing,” added Honeycutt. “We just couldn’t get the lead after getting down early. We feel like we have improved, and our lineup is a little different plus we are doing a lot of the little things better than what we did in that game.”

The Cyclones will be looking to region most valuable player Michael Robinson and all-tourney members Bo Pless, Eric Wilson, and Alex Norwood to continue with the same effort that brought them recognition at the regional level.

Elizabethton also leans heavily on Jalen Smith, Teve Mushayamunda, Tre McCrary, and Adam Cornett at peak times of the contest.

Honeycutt is also hoping to have Hayden Townsend back after missing all three of the regional games.

One thing the Cyclones need above all is for the stands to be packed in orange and black supporters.

“We would love to see a packed house Monday night,” said Honeycutt. “We know Hampton and Science Hill will be playing, but it would be great for all our supporters to come out and get behind this team.”

Both games will tip off at 7 p.m. with the gates opening at 5 p.m. Per TSSAA guidelines, there will be no reserved seating and all seats are first come, first serve. Ticket prices are $7 for all tickets.

Fans are encouraged to arrive as early as possible as there will be a large crowd expected at both contest.