‘Landers, Warriors fall in Kelly tournament

Published 8:30 am Monday, December 31, 2018

KINGSPORT – Needing three points to tie the game on Thursday afternoon in the Kelly Services Christmas Tournament played at J. Richard Carroll gymnasium at Sullivan North High School, the Cloudland Highlanders squandered the opportunity.

Taking possession with 23.5 seconds on the clock the ‘Landers could not get off a shot and called timeout with 5.3 ticks left. They never did get off a shot in a 58-55 loss to West Greene.

“They guarded it well,” said ‘Landers head coach Gary Harrison. “West Greene played well, played hard. We didn’t do a good job tonight in any defense we were in. We only had two, three consecutive stops all night and we look to get six of those a night. Tonight we didn’t play very good defense and didn’t rebound the ball well.”

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Both Cloudland and West Greene had 16 turnovers but the ‘Landers had nine in the second half which proved too much in a nip and tuck contest. The Buffaloes (7-6 overall) took a 12-11 lead after one period but Cloudland (4-7 overall) knotted it at 27-27 by the half with senior Robert Leeper leading all scorers with nine first half points.

Cloudland put together some offense in the third quarter to take a 42-37 lead going into the final stanza. Leeper hit one-of-two free throws but post Lucas Bennett – who went off for 15 of his game high 21 points – scored a three-point play.

Bennett finished seven-for-seven from the floor and also hit his free throw as he took advantage of the loss of senior post Josh Blair from the ‘Landers lineup due to injury.

“Number 55 hurt us tonight,” Harrison said. “A lot of that was due to us being unfocused. We had them down by eight points and we didn’t trap and they hit a three. We have to have kids that make their teammates better. We have battled a lot of injuries – we really miss Josh – and it has a huge impact and we hope to get him back soon.”

Guard Grayson Potter then hit a 3-ball for West Greene to make it a 43-42 with 6:33 remaining but Johnson followed with a trey of his own for the ‘Landers. Bennett scored a deuce and Hunter Shell connected from downtown as Cloudland led 49-41 before Allen Vaughn scored for WG.

After a second 3-ball from Johnson, WG got deuces from Kyler Clowers and Potter before Conor Birchfield’s three-point play gave the ‘Landers a 55-50 advantage with 2:13 showing on the clock. Bennett then scored six of the next eight points of the game – with Potter hitting two free throws – to stake the Buffs to a 58-55 lead at the 23.5 ticks left in regulation.

Game One

Cherokee 68

Happy Valley 47

The Warriors trailed 35-23 at the half and were not able to make a run against the Chiefs in game one. Cherokee added four points to its lead after three quarters going into the final quarter with a 47-31 advantage. Carter Metz led the Chiefs with 14 points followed by Jason Sutter, Wyatt Watson and Ryan Bledsoe who each added 10. Bryce Carter scored 12 for Happy Valley with Dakota Cochran and Luke Roberts each scoring eight.

Kelly Services

Christmas Tournament

Sullivan North High School

J. Richard Carroll gymnasium

West Greene 58-55

Cloudland (55)

Lacy 3, Birchfield 6, Gilbert 8. H. Shell 10, E. Blair 5, Leeper 14, Johnson 6, Barnett 3

West Greene (58)

Potter 12, Hornischer 6, Vaughn 10, Clowers 9, Bennett 21.

Cloudland             11 16 15 13 – 55

West Greene         12 15 10 21 – 58

3 point goals : C 6 (H. Shell 2, Johnson 2, Barnett 1, Birchfield 1), WG 6 (Hornischer 2, Vaughn 2, Potter 1, Clower 1