Cloudland stuns University High 78-64 in Mountain East conference play

Published 1:48 am Tuesday, January 14, 2020



George Washington Carver once said, “do the common things of life in an uncommon way”. On Friday night against a tough University High team, a scrappy Cloudland High School team did just that. They found a way to win in an “uncommon way”.

The Highlanders came into this game as underdogs. One of their best players, Hunter Shell, was out with the flu, and they were facing a very good University High team that had taken down the Mountain East Conference-leading Hampton Bulldogs by 28 points earlier in the week.
On paper, University High should have not had a problem with the Highlanders.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

This is why the game is played on a court rather than on paper. What the Jr. Bucs did not realize is Cloudland came into the game with a willingness to do what they had to do to win this game. University High learned this very quickly.

University High and Cloudland played a give and take game during the opening quarter. There were several ties and lead changes, and when the dust settled at the end of the quarter, the teams were tied at 13 each.
One could tell this was going to be a special game during the first quarter by the play of Elijah Blair. Blair only scored six during the first, but there was a look in his eyes that said he was just getting started.
Before the game was over, Blair would have a career night and score 32 points.

The second quarter would be the difference in the game. Cloudland came out like men on a mission and unfortunately for University High, they stood in their way.

The teams were tied at one point 15-15 during the second, but this was the last lead change of the game. Cloudland began pulling away on the scoreboard thanks to the play of Elijah Blair and Hayden Shell.

When the second quarter ended, Cloudland had taken a 34-24 lead.

Cloudland’s Coach Gary Harrison must have given his team some speech at the break, and it worked. The third quarter was all Cloudland as they took a ten-point lead and made it into a 25-point lead thanks to their tough defense and scoring after the turnover.

Cloudland used a smothering full-court press defense during the third quarter to take the Bucs out of their game and rhythm.
It worked because University High could only score 10 points during the third quarter. Cloudland had taken a normally hot-shooting team and had all but shut them down completely.

Meanwhile, Cloudland’s Blair was putting on a shooting clinic. The muscular Blair would not be stopped as he hit shot after shot under the goal.

When he was not doing damage, Cloudland’s Hunter Shell was taking up the slack and the Jr. Bucs frustration was obvious.

This frustration came to a head during the fourth quarter. Two University High players were called for technical fouls and their coach was also called for a technical foul when he voiced his displeasure toward a referee.

In the end, Cloudland won the game 79-64 and established themselves as a force in the Mountain East Conference.

After the game Coach Harrison was very proud of his team.

“We played really good defense tonight, and every one of our boys gave all they had on that court. They played their butts off against a very good team that is well-coached. I am very, very proud of all of them,” Harrison stated.

Blair was the high scorer for the night as he scored 32 points for the Highlanders. Cloudland got 18 points from Hayden Shell, 10 points from Conner Birchfield, nine points from Bentley Gilbert, eight from Hunter Blair and two from Caleb Sluder to finish all of Cloudland’s scoring.

University High was led in scoring by Kaleb Meredith with 14 points. Mason Broome had 12, John Carter had six, Marshall Fleenor had six and Ben Vargo had five.

University High’s record goes to 8-8 (3-2) while Cloudland’s record goes to 11-6 (2-1), and they are now tied for second place in the Mountain East Conference.