Lady Highlanders hold off North Greene for sub-state berth

Published 7:48 pm Monday, February 26, 2018

The Cloudland Lady Highlanders fended off North Greene 34-29 Monday during the Region 1-A semifinals at Cocke County High School.

The win secures the Lady ‘Landers a spot in the finals and a sub-state berth.

“There has been a lot of adversity,” said Cloudland head coach Mike Lunsford. “You know, we started out with a flood in our gym and no place to practice, they also had a new coach and some young girls. But I told them they could get a sub-state game if they kept working, and they did. I have never seen a group of kids carry out a defensive plan like they did tonight.”

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The Lady Highlanders came into the final quarter leading 28-16. As the Lady ‘Landers had problems at the foul line, the North Greene slowly narrowed Cloudland’s score to 31-29 with less than two minutes to play. Cloudland’s Megan Lunsford had three foul shots down the stretch to give the game its final tally.

For Cloudland, Lunsford finished the game with eight points while teammates Kenzie Birchfield and Stacia Wilson each had seven apiece.

On the back of the first quarter, the Lady Highlanders conducted a 10-point run to jump 12-5 over the Lady Huskies. Cloudland’s run was capped off with back-to-back trey’s from Lady Highlanders Kenzie Birchfield and Megan Lunsford. The run also saw baskets from Cloudland’s Jasmine Birchfield and Trinity┬áVines.

In the second period, the Lady Huskies climbed to within two-points of Cloudland, 12-10, before Cloudland had consecutive buckets from Jasmine Birchfield and Vines in the final two minutes to give the Lady ‘Landers a 16-10 lead heading into intermission.
The Lady Highlanders outpaced North Greene 12-6 in the third quarter. Cloudland’s Kenzie Birchfield opened the period with a 3-pointer before the Lady ‘Landers posted seven unanswered points down the stretch to lead 28-16 heading into the final quarter. The Lady Highlanders’ seven-point rally saw Cloudland’s Stacia Wilson connect on back-to-back buckets while Vines contributed three points in the period.