‘Landers fall to hot shooting Raiders

Published 2:38 pm Saturday, February 17, 2018

GRAY – A lack of defensive pressure and rebounding saw the No. 4 Cloudland Highlanders fall 63-50 to No. 5 Sullivan North on Friday evening in the District 1-A playoffs at Bobby Snyder gym.

“We didn’t play great defense,” Highlanders head coach Gary Harrison said. “Give credit to Sullivan North, coach Kane does a great job with them. My hats off to them, they did a really good job. We didn’t force any turnovers and we didn’t rebound the ball well.”

The Raiders (10-13) shot the ball extremely well as Cloudland seemed a step slow in rotating defensively. North shot 24-for-41 (58.5 percent) from the floor and hit six-of-nine from beyond the arc.

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Sullivan North battled to a 26-18 halftime lead and senior guard Thomas Brown led a 22-point third period that saw the Raiders extend to a 48-34 lead going into the fourth period. Brown scored 14 of his 21 points in the third period and forward Matt Burk added six points on a pair of clutch three’s. Burk led the Raiders with 22 points.

Junior post Josh Blair led all scorers with 23 points for Cloudland while Robert Leeper added 18.

“North’s three seniors played extremely well,” Harrison said. “We didn’t have one senior on the floor and I guess inexperience caught up with us.”

Leeper and Peyton Robinson exchanged buckets to open the fourth period, but a 5-to-1 North run saw the Raiders take a 55-37 lead with 3:38 left in regulation. Junstin Cross had a bucket and free throw while Burk hit a deuce in the mini-run.

Minutes later a three-point play by Burk staked North to a 62-44 advantage with 1:43 remaining.

The ‘Landers finish the season with a 14-13 mark while North advances to the region and a clash with top seed Hampton today.

Sullivan North 63-50

Sullivan North (63)

Brown 21, Burk 22, Dolan 2, J. Cross 11, Robinson 7.

Cloudland (50)

Birchfield 2, Benfield 2, Leeper 18, J. Blair 23, Shell 5.

Sullivan North 12 14 22 15 – 63

Cloudland 8 10 16 16 – 50

3-point goals : SN 6 (Brown 3, Burk 3), C 4 (J. Blair 3, Shell 1)