Cyclones down J.I Burton in heart-pounding fashion

Published 12:08 am Tuesday, January 25, 2022

BY BRANDON HYDE
STAR CORRESPONDENT
The Elizabethton Cyclones and the J.I. Burton High Raiders from Norton. VA met Monday night at Treadway Gym.  It was a tight match-up that came down to the wire.
With the game picking up steam, the fourth quarter was the deciding period of the contest before the Cyclones took a 68-63 non-conference victory.
Early in the fourth period, Elizabethton turned over the ball, but after a rebound, Jake Roberts got a hold of the ball underneath and would not be denied as he muscled the ball in making it 52-51 with 6:48 to go.
On their very next possession, the Cyclones went up two more as Mason Ball got the ball to Bryson Rollins alone under the basket.  It was a rare lapse by an otherwise alert Raider defense, but it was the first chink in their armor late in the game.
Elizabethton soon found themselves in a bit of trouble though, after a couple of crucial missed free throws and subsequent score by the Raiders.
Noa Goosey for the Raiders zip-lined a ball to Zac Campbell who kicked back to Goosey for a short jumper, making the score 58-54.  But that trouble would subside as Roberts hit a crucial three-pointer making it 58-57 with 4:34 to go.
A nice blocked shot by Nick Wilson made it appear as if Elizabethton would further capitalize, but the free ball fell into the hands of the Raiders.  However, the Raiders would try an ill-advised three-pointer that would fall back into the hands of the Cyclones.
This resulted in a long pass underneath the basket to Dalton Mitchell that put Elizabethton up by one at 59-58.  At this point, everyone in the stands realized just how much of a dog fight was unfolding before their eyes.  This forced the Raiders to take a time out with 3:17 to go to reassess the situation.
From this point, sloppy play by the Raiders and good defense by the Cyclones would see a bit of back and forth with missed shots by the Raiders and the Cyclones.
After a three-point miss by the Raiders and an excellent rebound by the Cyclones, Bryce VanHuss skillfully fed Seth Carter under the basket for two more and another chink in the Raider armor giving Elizabethton the advantage at 61-58.
At this point, Elizabethton started to turn up the heat on defense, forcing the Raiders to speed up their ball movement and more sloppy play.  After a crucial rebound, Jake Roberts zipped down the court and looked as if he was going to take it in, but then decided to slow it up and eat some clock.
Roberts was fouled and on his first successful free throw, the senior sank his 1000th career point as the entire arena erupted in applause during a standing ovation.  The momentum was now clearly all with Elizabethton as another chink in the Raider armor started to look like a crack with the score now 63-58.
However, the Raiders would make it interesting as Burton’s Campbell would somehow find his way through a tight Cyclone defense and get near the basket, drawing the foul and free throw attempts.
Campbell’s success at the line would pull the Raiders within three.  Rollins then found himself at the line after a foul for a one and one.  The first shot hung on the rim, spinning, for what seemed like an eternity, but would luckily find its way into the basket.
This would lead to Rollins hitting the second crucial free throw, only bolstering the Cyclones performance at the line.  Elizabethton found themselves with a 65-61 lead with a mere 36 seconds to go.
A traveling call on the Raider’s Campbell would leave the Raider crowd in disbelief and the ball in Elizabethton’s hands.
VanHuss was then fouled and with the converted free throw, the scoreboard read 66-61. The Cyclones held on to take the 68-63 victory.
Jake Roberts finished with a monster game with 30 points, along with Carter adding 14 and Rollins finished with seven. Campbell would also score an impressive 30 for the Raiders.
Elizabethton, 68-63
Elizabethton (68)
Jake Roberts 30, Bryson Rollins 7, Seth Carter 14, Bryce VanHuss 3, Dalton Mitchell 4, Nick Wilson 6, Mason Ball 4.
Burton (63)
Braxton Williams 7, Jaymen Buchanon 2, Zac Campbell 30, Clay Hart 7, Lonnie Lindsey 9, Noa Goosey 8.
Elizabethton…….20  19  11  18 – 68
Burton……………22  17  12  12 – 63

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