Cyclones, Patriots battle to a draw

Published 12:17 am Tuesday, January 21, 2020

If ever the Elizabethton Cyclones needed a win like a dead man needs a box, it was in their game against the Sullivan East Patriots in a home showdown Friday evening.
After losing two games to Unicoi County and Sullivan South because of long-range shooting from beyond the arc, the Cyclones finally battened down the hatches and withstood another barrage from the Patriots before pulling out the 81-68 victory which kept the Cyclones one game ahead of East in the Three Rivers Conference standings.
“I think that we are taking better shots,” said Cyclone head coach Lucas Honeycutt. “We are getting higher percentage shots where we work the ball inside-outside and we are moving the ball better as a team.
“We had a lot of energy going to the boards that helped as well. Defensively, we knew what we needed to do to win the game. We didn’t execute perfectly but our kids knew what we needed to do and executed enough to win the game.”
The Cyclones definitely dished the ball out evenly in the contest as five Elizabethton players recorded double figures in scoring in the contest led by Jake Roberts with 23 points.
Roberts came out gunning from beyond the arc to record four treys in the first half alone to get the Cyclones off on the right foot.
Nico Ashley also had another solid outing as the senior knocked down 20 points including another high-energy dunk off a rebound to the delighted Cyclone fans.
Parker Hughes and Donta Earnest elevated their game as the pair pumped in 13 points each while William Willocks contributed with 10 points.
Jordan Haynes added a field goal in the win.
The Patriots coming off a week where they set a record with 22 treys in a game had 12 against the Cyclones. East coach John Dyer was honored before the game as the long-tenured Patriot coach will be retiring at season’s end.
Sullivan East……60
If made layups were equivalent to bars of gold, the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones bank account would probably be in the red as once again point-blank shots at the goal resulted in the Lady Cyclones dropping a game that for all intents and purposes they should have won.
Elizabethton had an eight-point lead at the beginning of the fourth period but East dug in outhustled and outplayed the Lady Cyclones down the stretch to escape with a 10-point win that could cost the Lady Cyclones a shot at a bye-game in the upcoming district tournament.
“They wanted it more than we did,” said Lady Cyclone coach Lucas Andrews. “They fought harder than we did and made layups and we didn’t play defense like we worked on the last couple of days.
“We know what they are going to do and we know what they are going so it all just comes down to execution and they executed better than we did.”
Three Lady Patriots reached double figures led by Hayley Grubb with 20 points, Jenna Hare 18, and Riley Nelson with 12.
Elizabethton also saw three Lady Cyclones reached double digits led by freshman Lina Lyon with 12 points. Morgan Headrick tallied 11 while Kaitlin Bailey added 10.
Kaylen Shell (9), Renna Lane (5), and Cheyenne VanHuss (3) closed out the scoring for Elizabethton.
The loss drops the Lady Cyclones one game behind East for second place in the Three Rivers Conference.

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