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Cyclones flounder in uninspired loss to Rebels

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com 
KINGSPORT – Depending on which team shows up, the Elizabethton Cyclones, ranked seventh in this week’s Tennessee Prep Poll in Class AA, can either be giant killers or basketball’s version of the Bad News Bears.

Unfortunately, the latter showed up on Tuesday night at Sullivan South as the Cyclones never seemed to find a gear sputtering like an old pickup truck that had sat idle for three or four years as the Three Rivers Conference second seed falter in a 44-40 loss to the Rebels.

Never leading at any of the three stops in regulation, the Cyclones managed to even the game on a couple of occasions but could never get over the hump throughout.

South, meanwhile, by no means world beaters on the night, managed to do just enough to slip past the Cyclones before an elated group of Rebel supporters.

The Rebels jumped out to a 27-22 lead at the halftime break behind Nick Ellege who tallied 10 of his 17 points in the half. Colton Mullins and Will Harris provided a good support team effort as Mullins knocked down six and Harris five in the opening half.

Elizabethton’s Nate Stephens and Bryce VanHuss were doing all they could to keep the visitors close as both recorded five in the half. William Willocks chipped in with four points while Jake Roberts and Dalton Mitchell netted a trey each for the Cyclones.

Things didn’t get much better in the third quarter for neither team as each managed only a meager seven points apiece.

Roberts accounted for five for the Cyclones and Willocks registered the other two in the period. For South, Cooper Johnson hit a trey while Ellage and Mullins pitched in a deuce each.

As bad as they had played, the Cyclones still had an opportunity in the final eight minutes of play however once again turnovers and failed offensive possessions resulted in the four-point loss as the final horn sounded.

Roberts led the Cyclones with 13 points on the night VanHuss and Stephens finished with seven points each.

Ellage was the game-high scorer for South with 17 points. Mullins and Harris finished with eight points apiece in the win.

With the loss, the Cyclones fell to 16-6 overall and 8-4 in the conference while South ran their record to 9-10 overall and 6-5 in conference play.

South, 44-40
Elizabethton (40)
Jake Roberts 13, Nate Stephens 7, Bryce VanHuss 7, William Willocks 6, Nicholas Wilson 4, Dalton Mitchell 3.
South (44)
Nick Ellage 17, Cooper Johnson 7, Jackson Dean 1, Colton Mullins 8, Will Harris 8, Ethan Bergeron 3.
Elizabethton…. 14 8 7 11 – 40
Sullivan South.. 17 10 7 10 – 44