Mission Accomplished: Jr. Lady Highlanders top Nolichuckey for State East Sectional title

Published 5:36 pm Saturday, February 4, 2017


In front of many fans inside Catlettsburg Elementary in Sevierville, the Cloudland Elementary Jr. Lady Highlanders fought off a late-game push by Nolichuckey to become the TMSAA 2017 Class A State East Sectional Champions.
With their 39-28 win, the Jr. Lady Highlanders became the second team from Cloudland to ever win the State East Sectional championship.
“This is tremendous for us,” said Cloudland head coach Matt Birchfield. “This has been a goal for these kids for two years now. It is all they have talked about. They have really really put in the time.
“It is big for our program, and it is big for the feeder program going into our high school,” continued Birchfield.
Cloudland’s Jasmine Birchfield was selected as the tournament MVP after scoring a team-high ten points during the championship game. The MVP said that the Jr. Lady Highlanders have had their eyes set on winning the State Sectional for a while, and that it feels great to accomplish their goal.
“We have been trying for like three years now,” Jasmine said after Saturday’s game. “This is such a big deal for us. We have been working so hard to do this.”
Jasmine was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Heaven Caraway, Kaylen Fields, Krisi Bare, and Leah Birchfield.
At the end of one, the Lady Highlanders held a 10-5 lead over Nolichuckey. In the first quarter, both Jasmine Birchfield and Caraway hit 3-pointers for Cloudland, while Bare and Leah Birchfield each had 2-pointers to help their team’s cause.
The Jr. Lady ‘Landers continued to dominated in the second quarter as they outpaced Nolichucky 12-6 to head into the half leading 22-11. The second quarter saw Jasmine Birchfield rack up seven points, while Bare popped a 3-pointer. Cloudland’s Karah Fields also had a bucket in the frame.
The third quarter opened with Kaylen Fields sinking a basket before Bare hit a trey to push the Lady ‘Landers on out to a 27-14 lead. Down the third-quarter stretch, Cloudland outscored Nolichucky 6-5 with Karah Fields picking up four points while Kaylen Fields added two points to the board. Heading into the fourth, Cloudland led 33-16.
Nolichuckey went on a run in the fourth to cut Cloudland’s lead to just nine points. The Jr. Lady Highlanders, however, held their composure and fended off a comeback effort from Nolichuckey.
“We showed some toughness there,” said Matt Birchfield. “Our leadership really stepped in there. We had some kids really step up.”
For Cloudland, Bare finished with eight points, while Kaylen Fields picked up seven. Karah Field had six. Leah Birchfield and Heaven Caraway had 4 and 3 points, respectively.

Make sure to pick Tuesday’s Elizabethton Star for more photos from Saturday’s action.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox