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Lady Highlanders keep rolling with big victory over Happy Valley, 53-21.

BY AUSTIN ALEXANDER
STAR CORRESPONDENT
ROAN MOUNTAIN – Before the snow got a chance to touchdown in Carter County on Tuesday, two county teams took to the hardwood for an early-season matchup.

Happy Valley made the drive up the mountain to take on the Cloudland Highlanders looking to build off their big win last Friday against Sullivan North.

With no fans in the stands, the atmosphere was definitely different, but the Lady ‘Landers were not affected winning big, 53-21.

Happy Valley would grab the early lead with the first bucket of the game with Olivia Absher scoring her first two points of her team-high seven. Unfortunately for the Lady Warriors, this was the only lead they would hold on the night.

It didn’t take long for the Lady ‘Landers to hit their stride and for Mandy Benfield to get going. She had six of her game-high 16 in the first quarter and the Highlanders led huge 18-4 after one.

The second quarter belonged to Gracie Freeman who scored seven of her 12 in the quarter and the Lady ‘Landers continued to stack on to their lead having it all but insurmountable by halftime leading 31-8 at the break.

A pair of threes from Kadie Bailey and Emma Blevins tried to ignite the Warriors, but Benfield was just too much pitching in another 6 points in the third for Cloudland.

The fourth quarter was little more than a formality as the Highlanders closed out the Lady Warriors, 53-21.

Cloudland, 53-21
Cloudland (53)
Jasmine Birchfield 4, Gracie Freeman 12, Mandy Benfield 16, Leah Birchfield 7, Karah Fields 3, Ella Benfield 5, Kendall Birchfield 3, Saharra McKinney 3.
Happy Valley (21)
Gabby Wood 2, Emma Blevins 5, Marcida Moore 2, Olivia Absher 7, Kadie Bailey 5.

Boys
Cloudland……..47
Happy Valley….46
Coming off a win against Sullivan North, the Highlanders of Cloudland hosted Happy Valley on Tuesday hoping to continue their winning ways. A tight-knit game throughout, a last-second, buzzer-beater from Happy Valley fell short to give Cloudland a 47-46 victory.

The game traded leads early with Alex Lunceford of Happy Valley scoring five of his 13 in the first quarter. Bentley Gilbert also found five of his 11 points for Cloudland. The quarter ended 12-12.

The second quarter stayed the same back and forth matchup as in the first. Victor Hicks of Cloudland had a massive quarter scoring eight of his team-high 18 and pushing the Highlanders into the lead.

His performance was only bested by Blake Young who scored 10 of his game-high 19 in the quarter as well.

The ‘Landers had a 28-24 lead coming out of the break and Happy Valley would not stop putting the pressure on Cloudland as the two battled back and forth with everyone pitching in on both sides.

The fourth quarter was much of the same. Timmy Mounts helped keep the Warriors in close proximity to the Landers, but Cloudland rose to the occasion with Hicks finding clutch points in the dying embers of the game.

Despite a clean look from half court at the buzzer, Young’s shot skid off the rim, and the Highlanders claimed the cross-county win, 47-46.

Cloudland, 47-46
Cloudland (47)
Victor Hicks 18, Caleb Sluder 6, Dylan Shell 4, Eli Benfield 6, Bentley Gilbert 11, Elijah Blair 2.
Happy Valley (46)
Andrew Clawson 6, Andrew Little 4, Timmy Mounts 4, Blake Young 19, Alex Lunceford 13.