Lady Highlanders roll over U-H while ‘Landers fall hard

Published 1:01 am Wednesday, February 9, 2022

BY AUSTIN ALEXANDER
STAR CORRESPONDENT
JOHNSON CITY- With the season winding down in high school basketball throughout northeast Tennessee, these final regular-season conference games are as important as ever.
Cloudland made the trip to Johnson City on Tuesday to take on University High School in pivotal late-game conference action. The girls added another win to their already great season while the boys again couldn’t find the scoring touch.
The girl’s game tipped with Cloudland immediately taking control and never looking back . Ella Benfield scored eight of her game-high 12 points in the opening frame. The Lady ‘Landers defense was also staunch only allowing six first-half points.
Kendall Birchfield scored 11 points in the first half including three treys. The shots were dropping from all angles as Karah Fields added five points in the half as well. The score was 35-6 heading into the break with Cloudland in complete command.
Izabella Christman had a huge third quarter with six of her 11 points. Taylor Hicks was also feeling her shot as she hit a three in both the third and fourth quarters.
The last quarter was a formality with the game already wrapped up. Mackenzie Street, Katie Baldwin, Saharra McKinney and Ryan Turbyfill would also chip in points as the game would final by a score of 61-14.
The boys game was a lot different, but for different reasons. The Highlanders have seemed to have a season-long curse that puts a lid on their goals. Tuesday night was no different.
The first quarter was an offensive struggle for both teams with Caleb Sluder being the lone scorer for the ‘Landers as they trailed 8-5 after the first quarter.
The second saw UH expand the gap further as they began to score a little more as Cloudland continued to struggle. Dylan Shell and Dylan McClellan would both find nice buckets in the quarter, but the Buccaneers still took a 21-11 lead into halftime.
After the break, the floodgates opened for the Bucs as they began scoring at will. Jacob Street and Gage McKinney each put in a solid basket, but University School’s AJ Murphy took over scoring 11 of his game-high 30 in the quarter.
Murphy kept up the scoring in the fourth with another 11 points and the Bucs had opened up a massive lead.
The Highlanders never quit fighting though, as Eli Benfield and Kingston Cole got in on the score sheet as the Highlanders had their best offensive quarter scoring 16.
Caden Clarke also contributed four points in the last frame, but it was too late as the Bucs would defeat the Highlanders by a final of 61-40.

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