Cloudland, Unicoi County split games in high school hoops

Published 11:58 pm Wednesday, December 4, 2019



The weather finally cleared in Roan Mountain just in time for the Unicoi County Blue Devils to make the trip across the mountain to take on the Cloudland Highlanders at Sonny Smith Gymnasium. A packed gym watched four very entertaining games that gave a sample of what is to come during the rest of this basketball season.

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Lady Highlanders outlast Lady Blue Devils, 48-43

Gracie Freeman chipped in 16 points and Jasmine Birchfield hit 10 points to lead the Lady Landers to a 48-43 victory over the Lady Blue Devils.

The game was very close throughout, and the teams swapped the lead several times during the game.

During the first quarter, Unicoi County jumped out to an 8-5 lead as they pressured Cloudland on defense. Cloudland kept hustling and by the end of the quarter, the teams were only separated by three points at 12-9, in favor of Unicoi County.

Unicoi County tried to pull away during the second quarter but once again the gutsy Lady Landers pulled back to tie the score and took a lead into the locker room, 23-22.

The third quarter opened with the Lady Landers determined to make a statement and to keep the lead for the rest of the game.

Cloudland starting raining points and most of them came from Jasmine Birchfield, Heaven Caraway and Gracie Freeman who lit up the scoreboard during the quarter.

When the dust settled at the end of the quarter, Cloudland had a 38-34 lead, and they would never surrender it.

Cloudland held on to the lead during the fourth quarter and at one point stretched it to seven points. Unicoi fought back and brought the score back to within two points with only two minutes left in the game.

Cloudland kept hitting their foul shots, however, and that sealed the victory, 48-43.

Cloudland was led in scoring by Freeman with 16 points. Jasmine Birchfield had 10, Taylor Hicks had 6 and Ella Benfield had 6.

Unicoi County’s high scorer was Caroline Podvin who scored 15. She was followed in scoring by Jocelyn Metcalf who had 9, Tenley Holt had 9 and Ashtan Vance finished with 8.

The Lady Landers improve to 4-1 on the season and will play at Providence Academy on Friday night.

Unicoi County downs Cloudland 82-57 in high school boys play

Unicoi County boys’ basketball team took on the Cloudland High School boys’ basketball team in the final game of the night and came away with an 82-57 victory over the Highlanders.

The game was never really in doubt as Unicoi jumped out to a 9-6 lead during the first quarter.

Cloudland turnovers and missed shots allowed Unicoi to continue to run the score up during the first and when the buzzer sounded at the end of the first quarter, Cloudland was down by a 19-10 score.

Unicoi never looked back and after taking an 18-point lead into the locker room at the half, they came back during the third and stretched their lead to 22 by the end of the third quarter.

One bright spot for Cloudland was the hustle and gutsy play of Elijah Blair who finished the night with most of Cloudland’s offense and 29 points.

Blair was almost unstoppable and his toughness and talent earned him respect from both Cloudland and Unicoi County fans.

Other scorers for Cloudland were Hunter Shell who had 12 points, Conner Birchfield had 5, Hunter Blair had 3, Victor Hicks had 3, Jed Childress added 2, Dillon Shell totaled 2 and Hunter Shell finished off the scoring with one point.

Unicoi was led in scoring by Brock Thompson who had 27. Caleb Adkins chipped in 14, Brett Lingerfelt had 7, Lucas Slagle had 6, Bryson Peterson had 6, Zachary Hopson had 5, and Mason Barcel had 5.

With this lose the Cloudland boys’ basketball team falls to 0-2 for the season.  They will play next at Providence Academy on Friday night.