Bucs rally past ‘Landers, Lady ‘Landers rout Bucs

Published 12:30 am Thursday, February 6, 2020

JOHNSON CITY – Cloudland looking for a season sweep of University High – took no prisoners in the first half of their Watauga Valley Conference clash. The second half saw UH claw its way out of a double-digit deficit to take a 66-58 win at Brooks Gym.
“We played well offensively in the first half,” ‘Landers head coach Gary Harrison said. “Defensively we didn’t rebound and Fleenor was hot and made some shots. They got a lot of offense off second-chance shots and that’s something the kids got to fix.”
The Highlanders (13-11, 3-6 WVC) came out firing from long range with Hunter Shell and Bentley Gilbert each connecting for two trey’s apiece and Hayden Shell contributing one from distance.
The ‘Landers led 29-16 after one period with only Marshall Fleenor’s hot hand keeping the Buccaneers in this contest. Fleenor connected on four first-half triples for 12 first-half points tying him with Shell for high scorer in the first half.
Fleenor continued his hot hand for UH in the third period knocking down his fifth trey of the contest and Kaleb Meredeth showed himself for the first time with a trey at the 3:38 mark that knotted the score at 41-41.
The ‘Landers maintained a slim 51-49 lead after three periods but the Bucs (12-12, 5-4) confidence was growing and a Fleenor triple gave UH a 56-55 lead with 4:57 left in regulation.
Hayden Shell answered with a trey for Cloudland to tie the game at 58-58 but that was the last points of the night for the ‘Landers as UH closed it out with eight straight points – four each from Fleenor and Meredeth.
Fleenor led all scorers with 26 points while Meredeth came on to score 23. Gilbert and Hunter Shell each had 15 for Cloudland with Elijah Blair adding 10.
UH 66-58
Cloudland (58)
Birchfield 7, Gilbert 15, H. Blair 2, Ha Shell 9, E. Blair 10, Hu Shell 15.
UH (66)
Fleenor 26, Carter 5, Meredeth 23, Blowers 2, Broome 8, Rice 2.
Cloudland.. 29  9 13   7 – 58
UH…………. 16 13 20 17 – 66
3-point goals: C 8 (Hu Shell 3, Ha Shell 3, Bentley 2), UH 8 (Fleenor 6, Meredeth, Carter).
Cloudland………. 50
University High…20
For Cloudland it was a game of runs and for UH it was a game-long drought in girls Watauga Valley Conference basketball action.
After spotting the Lady Bucs a 6-0 lead at the 2:38 mark of the first period Cloudland ran off 26 unanswered points before Ryleigh Owen hit a trey for UH at the 4:43 mark of the second quarter. Cloudland (20-3, 8-1 WVC) led 14-6 after the first quarter and 33-9 at the half.
Jasmine Birchfield scored 10 first-half points with Kenzie Birchfield adding eight more. Owen had six for UH who saw post player Mauri Johnson held scoreless in the first half.
The Lady Highlanders took a 46-13 lead to end the third period and the rout was on. Junior post-player Mandy Benfield had a game-high 14 points and Lady ‘Landers head coach Matt Birchfield said, “Mandy has played well for us all year. Tonight she did a good job in the post on Johnson. Made her alter some shots and did a good job of containing her.”
Jasmine Birchfield had 10 points for the ‘Landers while Owen tallied nine for UH. Nine players cracked the scoring sheet for Cloudland.
“Our depth is starting to show,” Birchfield said. “Our team depth has come around. We are getting good minutes from the bench. Kids are coming in off the bench and getting rebounds and playing good defense.”
Cloudland, 50-30
Cloudland (50)
Caraway 2, K. Birchfield 8, M. Benfield 14, J. Birchfield 10, Hicks 3, L. Birchfield 4, Kay Fields 2, Kar Fields 5, E. Benfield 2.
University High (20)
Trosin 5, Owen 9, Leonard 2, Johnson 4.
Cloudland.. 14 19 13 4 – 50
UH…………… 6   3  4  7 – 20
3-point goals: C 4 (K. Birchfield 2, Kar Fields, J. Birchfield). UH 4 (Owen 3, Trosin).

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