Cloudland advances to JV tourney final over Unaka
Published 9:21 pm Thursday, December 31, 2020
BY ALLEN LAMOUNTAIN
Tight defense and solid three-point shooting carried the day for the Cloudland Lady Highlanders on Wednesday in the semi-final of the Girls Junior Varsity basketball tournament played at Treadway gymnasium.
The Lady ‘Landers forced 14 turnovers on the Unaka Rangers and took a 40-27 win to advance to the championship game on Thursday against Volunteer. Cloudland connected on eight treys taking an early lead and was only mildly threatened by the Lady Rangers in the fourth quarter.
“We shot the ball well tonight and had several players make big three’s” Lady ‘Landers head coach Matt Birchfield said. “Kara Fields made some big three’s, Taylor Hicks and Kendall (Birchfield) all made big shots.
“I thought that for three quarters we played with good urgency, but I think we came out a little flat in the fourth quarter, and maybe were a little hesitant. This being a crazy year, it feels good for these kids to be able to play tomorrow for a championship against Volunteer and hopefully, good things will happen for us.”
The ‘Landers led 8-4 after one period and extended to a 25-8 halftime advantage connecting on four three-balls in the period.
Unaka played Cloudland to a dead heat in the third period but were unable to make up any ground as sophomore guard Lyndie Ramey scored six of the Rangers 10 points in the stanza.
Cloudland led 35-18 going into the final period which is when the Rangers made their move scoring six straight points to close to within 35-24 before Fields stopped the bleeding for the ‘Landers with a free throw.
After a trey from Julie Simerly for the Rangers, Fields once again showed strength inside with a tough bucket in the paint for a 38-27 ‘Landers lead with under a minute remaining. Saharra McKinney added a deuce for Cloudland for the final points of the contest.
Ramsey led all scorers with 14 points for Unaka with post Mailey Guy adding 10. Birchfield and Fields each had nine points to lead the ‘Landers in scoring with McKinney adding eight.
Volunteer advanced due to a viral outbreak and subsequential quarantine on the Hampton squad and the Bulldogs had to forfeit. Game time is 1 pm.
MICKEY FORRESTER JUNIOR VARSITY TOURNAMENT
John Treadway Gymnasium
Hicks 6, K. Birchfield 9, E. Birchfield 2, McKinney 8, Turbyfill 3, Christman 4, Fields 9.
Ramsey 14, Guy 10, Simerly 3.
Cloudland 8 17 10 5 – 40
Unaka 4 4 10 9 – 27
3-point goals: C 8 (K. Birchfield 3, Fields 2, Hicks 2, Turbyfill), U 1 (Simerly)