Cloudland’s girls defeat Lady Longhorns 41-36 

Published 6:05 am Wednesday, December 11, 2019



Riding a seven-game win streak, the Cloudland High School girls’ basketball team came into Monday night hungry to make it eight in a row. Their victim this time was the Johnson County Longhorns who were defeated by Cloudland 41-36.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Cloudland was led in scoring by their quick point guard Heaven Caraway who had 10 points on the night, but it took an entire team to defeat the Longhorns on this night.

In fact, nine of Cloudland’s girls would score before the night was over and only their teamwork guaranteed them a victory.

The first quarter opened with Cloudland scoring in a hurry. Within a matter of seconds, Cloudland had jumped out to a 5-1 lead, and they never looked back during the first half.

The Lady Longhorns had trouble getting the ball up the court because of Cloudland’s intense defense and by the end of the first quarter, Cloudland had taken those steals and turnovers and turned them into 12 points as they led 12-3 at the end of the first.

The second quarter saw the Lady ‘Landers having turnover trouble of their own and they finished the first half giving up eight turnovers.

Besides giving up 16 turnovers during the half Johnson County had other problems. They could not convert Cloudland’s turnovers into points.

For a time during the second quarter, Cloudland could not buy a basket until Leah Birchfield came into the game. The quick and aggressive guard quickly scored five points and helped Cloudland run the score up to 26-8 at halftime.

As both teams went into their locker rooms, the game seemed to be firmly in hand for Cloudland and it looked like it was going to be another Cloudland victory as they rested on an 18-point lead.

Johnson County had other plans.

Johnson County’s head coach Leon Tolley must have lit a fire under his players in the locker room at halftime because the Lady Longhorns were a different team during the third quarter.

For the Lady Landers, it became a total disaster.

Cloudland was outscored 17-4 during the third quarter and when the quarter was over, Johnson County had fought back to within five points of Cloudland.

Cloudland knew they were in for a dog fight during the fourth and final period of play.

The fourth quarter was filled with tough defense and aggressive rebounding as both teams had some problems scoring. Finally, they started trading points throughout the quarter, and Johnson County came within three points of tying the score with only three minutes left in the game.

A good team knows how to win during the last few minutes of a game and Cloudland is a good team. Caraway, Jasmine Birchfield, and Mandy Benfield all took control of the game and helped Cloudland hold onto the lead and the victory 41-36.

After the game, Cloudland Coach Matt Birchfield was pleased that they had won but he felt his team had lost their focus during the third quarter.

“We had a really good first half, but we did not come out ready to play in the second half, and they did,” said Birchfield.

“They made some adjustments at half, and we were not aggressive during the third quarter. We have done this a few times this year and we have to really work on that. When you don’t come out ready to play, anything can happen. Johnson County is a really good ball club and is well-coached and we were lucky to come out with a win.”

Cloudland was led in scoring on the night by Caraway who had 10 points. Kenzie Birchfield had seven points, Benfield had six points and Leah Birchfield added five for the Lady ‘Landers.

Johnson County was led in scoring by Taylor Cox who had 14 points for the night. Taylor Parsons had nine points, Sadie Stout had six and Natalie Winters had four for the Lady Longhorns.