Cyclones stay atop TRC with big road win at East, 70-61

Published 11:46 pm Thursday, January 12, 2017

Star Photo/Ivan Sanders Elizabethton post player Alex Norwood goes up for a big basket against East defender Mason Johnson.

Star Photo/Ivan Sanders
Elizabethton post player Alex Norwood goes up for a big basket against East defender Mason Johnson.

BLUFF CITY— After the dismal play that Elizabethton had against the Unicoi County Blue Devils on Tuesday night, the Cyclones were looking to put that game behind them while trying to maintain a presence at the top of the Three Rivers Conference when they traveled to take on the always tough Sullivan East Patriots in the Dyer Dome.
From the opening tip, it didn’t take long to see that the Cyclones had put the Unicoi Co. game to bed as Elizabethton built a 21-point lead midway through the second half and held off a late Patriot charge for a 70-61 win.
“The message was to have a short memory and come back out and do things better than what we did Tuesday night,” said Cyclone head coach Lucas Honeycutt. “We let emotions get the best of us Tuesday night, and I felt like we did things contrary to what we normally do.
“I never thought my kids lost confidence, even on Tuesday night. They just needed something to go their way to get back in gear, and I think they got off to a good start tonight and a great defensive effort—a great defensive effort.”
The Cyclones were a completely different engine in the opening half of play as the offense was hitting on all cylinders hitting for 45 points in the half while shutting the Patriots down with smothering defense allowing only 28 points to the home team.
Hayden Townsend was a man on a mission in the half leading the Cyclones in scoring with 14 points.
“Coach has been expecting more of me all year,” said Townsend. “We’ve been putting in a lot of work and it just came at the right time. It feels good to be back at the top of the conference. It was a tough loss to Unicoi County.”
Townsend had plenty of help.
Michael Robinson connected for nine while Corey Russell was playing lights out on both ends of the court scoring seven points and playing tight man-to-man defense on the Patriots Aaron Frye.
Russell also provided a highlight-reel play dishing a no-look pass to Alex Norwood for a basket that brought the Cyclone fans alive.
Norwood totaled six in the half with Adam Cornett and Jacob Norris scoring five and four points respectively.
Despite being frustrated for most of the half, Patriot standout point guard Gavin Grubb led his team offensively in the first 16 minutes of play scoring 10. Frye added eight points while being hawked by Russell.
The Cyclones (15-4, 4-1) managed to build the lead to 21 before East (17-5, 3-1) behind Grubb scratched and clawed their way back into the ball game shaving four points off the lead in the third quarter and cutting the game down to a single-digit lead in the final period.
Elizabethton was able to seal the win at the charity stripe in the fourth quarter behind a 4-of-4 effort from Adam Cornett in the quarter.
A trio of Cyclone players reached double-figure scoring in the contest led by Robinson’s 19. Townsend closed out with 16 and Norwood got back on track with a 15-point effort.
Cornett finished with nine points while Russell closed out his night with seven points and Norris added four.
Grubb worked his way to the foul line 13 times in the second half where he hit nine of those to finish with a game-high 24 points. Frye collected 12 on the night to finish in double figures as well.
Although his team came away tagged with a loss, Sullivan East head coach John Dyer was proud of his team’s fight to the very end.
“The way they (EHS) played in the second quarter, nobody around here can beat them,” said Dyer. “They took our heart from us in the second quarter, but boy we did not quit and because of that we will regroup and be okay.
“This league is tough. The most important thing is that we have to come back tomorrow night and be ready to play against South,” continued Dyer. “Elizabethton has all the weapons. You look at their team and who can’t play.”
The Cyclones will be on the road again tonight when they travel to Warrior Hill to face off with Coach Chuck Babb’s Warrior squad who is looking to work themselves into the fray in the Three Rivers Conference.
Tip will be around 8 p.m. immediately following the varsity girls contest.
Elizabethton 70-61
Elizabethton (70)
Adam Cornett 9, Michael Robinson 19, Corey Russell 7, Hayden Townsend 16, Alex Norwood 15, Jacob Norris 4.
Sullivan East (61)
Gavin Grubb 24, Aaron Frye 12, Micah Ellison 7, Dustin Bartley 7, Mason Johnson 2, Ethan Whitley 9.
Elizabethton……  18   27   10   15 – 70
Sullivan East…..   18   10   14   19 – 61
3-pt Goals: Elizabethton 5 (Hayden Townsend 2, Michael Robinson 2, Corey Russell). Sullivan East 3 (Dustin Bartley, Gavin Grubb, Micah Ellison).

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox