Lady Cyclones drop heartbreaker at East

Published 10:06 am Wednesday, January 26, 2022

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
BLUFF CITY – Tuesday’s contest between Elizabethton and Sullivan East girls carried some heavyweight significance in the Upper Lakes Conference girls race as a win by the Lady Cyclones would give them a two-game edge over the Lady Patriots while a win by East would knot the conference up with close to three weeks left in regular-season play.
The game was everything that was promised and more as both teams left it all on the court until the final horn revealed the Lady Patriots narrowly escaped with a 53-51 victory after 32 minutes of battling each other tooth and nail.
East seized the lead after one period leading 13-12 at the first stop.
Four points from Jenna Hare and a pair of treys – one each from Abby McCarter and Hannah Hodge put the Lady Patriots out front. Lina Lyon and Marlee Mathena totaled four points each for the Lady Cyclones along with deuces from Olivia Holly and Reiley Whitson kept ‘Betsy nipping at the heels of the home team.
The second quarter played out as tough as the first as East managed to hold onto their advantage at the break leading by three, 28-25.
Riley Nelson helped to keep her team in the lead by scoring six points in the quarter. Haire added four more to her total as well for East. The sharpshooting Holly found her spot beyond the three-point arc on a couple of opportunities to score six in the quarter.
Lyon, who entered the game needing 13 points to join the 1,000-point club added five more to her column giving her nine in the half. Whitson added a field goal as well.
Coming out of the break, the crowd knew it was going to be a barn burner and wasn’t disappointed as the Lady Cyclones made their push to the front and managed to even the score at 35-35 at the end of eight minutes of play in the third.
Lyons, who seemingly was a little tight in the first half, finally dropped in her 1,000th with four points in the quarter. Maddie Fowler got into the scoring action with her trademark trey in the quarter while Whitson added a deuce and Mathena connected on 1-of-2 from the charity stripe.
Haire scored all seven of her team’s points in the period as the Cyclone defense turned up the heat coming out of the break including a closing seconds stand that kept East from closing out the quarter with a bucket.
With eight minutes to play, everything was on the line for both teams and they played like it as the defense disappeared and both offenses took the spotlight.
The difference in the game came down to free-throw shooting as the Lady Patriots were sent to the line 14 times in the final period of play and hit 13 of those shots to sneak away with the victory. Haire finished with eight points in the quarter with six coming from the free-throw line to finish with 23 for the game. McCarter added her third trey and added six points.
Lyon netted 10 points in the period to finish with 23 points to match Haire for game-high scoring honors. Whitson tickled the twine for two treys in the quarter and added a deuce to finish with 14 points behind Lyon.
McCarter finished with 12 and Nelson 11 placing three Lady Patriots in double figures.
The Lady Cyclones finish out the month of January on the road at Cosby Friday night for a 6:30 p.m. tip off.

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