Hensley-led Blue Devils fight off Cyclones for 62-58 win

Published 10:46 pm Sunday, February 4, 2018

ERWIN— Even though the district tournament is still two weeks away, one couldn’t tell it Friday night at Unicoi County High School as the visiting Elizabethton Cyclones and host Blue Devils had to battle down to the final horn to see who was going to come away with a win.
Using some timely buckets down the stretch from Trevor Hensley and Troy Podvin, the Blue Devils managed to finally pull out a highly challenged 62-58 win.
“Trevor Hensley is a big-time player,” said Cyclone head coach Lucas Honeycutt. “He hit a big shot over Eric there in the fourth quarter, and when you get down, your best player has to be able to hit that shot.”
The opening eight minutes of play was entertaining and high octane as both teams were running and gunning much to the delight of the Friday night crowd in attendance.
Unicoi County rode the one-two punch of Podvin and Hensley who both netted seven points in the period to build a slim 17-15 edge at the end of the stanza.
Elizabethton, meanwhile, leaned on the play of Will Miller and Evan Perkins who knocked down four points apiece to keep the Cyclones in the contest. Eric Wilson and Parker Hughes added three points each.
The spirited play carried over to the second quarter as Elizabethton settled in offensively to outscore the Blue Devils 13-9 to establish a 28-26 lead at the break.
Perkins drilled a deep trey and added a field goal to tally five to push the Cyclones out front. Hughes and Adam Cornett connected for four points each in the quarter as well.
Part of the success for the Cyclones in the quarter could be attributed to the board work of Eric Wilson who kept second-chance Blue Devil scoring opportunities at bay.
Hensley scored three in the period to pace Unicoi County while finishing the half with 10 points.
The second half had the atmosphere of a tournament contest as both teams went toe to toe with each other for the final 16 minutes of play.
With Perkins (5) and Shelton (4) trying to push their teams out front in the third, the horn sounded with the Blue Devils squeezing tight to a 42-41 lead setting up a fantastic finish to the contest.
The Cyclones came out strong to open the fourth quarter eventually building a six-point lead about mid-way through the final eight minutes behind five more points from Perkins.
However, Podvin and Hensley helped to quickly erase any momentum the Cyclones had built by turning the six-point deficit into a one-point Blue Devil lead.
From that point, the Blue Devils managed to keep just enough of an edge to pull out the win from the free-throw line after the Cyclones were forced to foul.
Hensley finished with 22 points to lead the Blue Devils while Podvin tossed in 18. Brock Thompson filled a solid role by nailing 13 points with three treys.
Perkins ripped the cotton for 22 points to pace the Cyclones in the loss. Cornett collected 12 while Hughes contributed with 11 points.
Wilson added seven points with Will Miller and Nico Ashley adding three and two points respectively for Elizabethton.
Honeycutt feels like his team is coming together down the home stretch of the season.
“I see our kids growing up a lot,” added Honeycutt. “Our offense played well tonight, and I am really proud of them because no one held back tonight.
“It was a great atmosphere here tonight. We are working toward a goal, and we are one step closer.”
Elizabethton finishes out regular-season play next week on the road at Science Hill on Tuesday and back at Treadway Gym on Friday night for Senior Night against Sullivan Central.

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