Cloudland splits pair with Happy Valley in middle school basketball 

Published 12:19 am Wednesday, November 6, 2019



ROAN MOUNTAIN – The Cloudland Middle girls and boys’ basketball teams played the Jr. Warriors of  Happy Valley on Monday night for the third time in two weeks.

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The teams were coming out of the region’s Tip-off Tournament held at Blountville Middle School last week and both schools were eager to start the regular season on a winning note.

Lady ‘Landers Defeat Happy Valley, 42-15

The Cloudland Jr. Lady Highlanders could be one of the best middle school teams in East Tennessee. Monday night they showed a packed Cloudland High School gymnasium why.

The first quarter of the girls’ game opened with Happy Valley taking complete control.  They outshot, outplayed, and outhustled a Cloudland team that had beaten them in the Tip-off tournament and also in the Middle School Jamboree.

The crowd could see that Happy Valley’s girls had prepared well and had been coached well.

The first quarter opened with Happy Valley jumping out to a four-point lead led by Marcida Thompson.

Points by Cloudland’s Ryan Turbyfill, Izabella Christman, and Bethany Sluder kept Cloudland in the game, but the first quarter still ended with Happy Valley holding a slim two-point lead and the score 7-5.

What Happy Valley did not know was the depth of the Cloudland bench.

With three starters sitting on the bench, Cloudland turned up the defense and outscored Happy Valley 9-2 during the second quarter. The teams went into halftime with Cloudland holding a five-point lead and the score 14-9.

Cloudland’s Bella Clawson has a father who is well known in Roan Mountain for growing Christmas trees, but everyone discovered during the third and fourth quarters of this game that he also grows basketball players.

Clawson scored 17 points in the last two quarters and completely embarrassed Happy Valley’s defense.

By the end of the third quarter, Cloudland had increased its lead to 14 points and the scoreboard said 27-13.

The fourth quarter saw more of Cloudland’s stifling defense and Clawson’s jump shots, and when the final buzzer sounded Cloudland had taken a 42-15 victory.

Clawson led all scorers with 17 points. Cloudland’s Turbyfill scored eight and Saharra Mckinney scored six on the night.

Marcinda Thompson scored 10 points for Happy Valley. Lacey Byrd had three points and Rayna Byrd had two points also for Happy Valley.

Jr. Warriors handle Cloudland in runaway, 37-15

Cloudland’s boys’ basketball team has gone through some tough times during the last few years.

During this year’s Middle Tip-off Tournament, they played much better than they have in the past and showed that they have some talented players on their team.

Unfortunately, they played a Happy Valley team Monday night that was clicking on all cylinders.

There was little that Happy Valley did wrong during Monday’s game. They shot the ball well. They rebounded and got second shots.

But the most impressive thing they did during this game was showing the crowd a full-court press defense that many high school basketball teams would be proud to have.

Throughout the game, Cloudland had few answers for Happy Valley’s press defense and it quickly showed on the scoreboard.

The first quarter saw both teams having trouble connecting with the goal and it ended as a defensive struggle and a 5-2 score in favor of Happy Valley.

Happy Valley’s defense began to have some effect during the second quarter and Cloudland was outscored 12-5 during the quarter.

The teams went into halftime with Happy Valley having a commanding 17-7 lead and the third and fourth quarters looking bleak for Cloudland.

Once again, the Jr. Warrior defense completely dominated Cloudland during the third quarter and Cloudland did not score a point during the third quarter and part of the fourth quarter.

When Cloudland did score again, the game clock showed 5:01 left in the game and the game was well out of hand for Cloudland with the score 26-9 in favor of Happy Valley.

When the buzzer finally sounded, Cloudland had been beaten by a much better team and the final score read 37-15.

Dakota Grindstaff led Happy Valley in scoring with 11 points. Tucker Shoun, Colton Johnson, and Joseph Sewards had 5 points each in the game.

Cloudland’s post player Dylan McClellan was the high scorer for Cloudland with 11 points. Eli Morgan and Cayden Cordell had two each.