Lady Highlanders romp over Hancock Co. in region play

Published 11:03 pm Friday, February 25, 2022

BY BRANDON HYDE
STAR CORRESPONDENT
ROAN MOUNTAIN – The Cloudland Lady Highlanders annihilated the Hancock Co. Lady Indians as Cloudland and Hancock Co. met for the first round of the 1-A Girls Regional tournament played Friday night in Roan Mountain.
Coach Matt Birchfield’s Lady ‘Landers ran away from their visitors by a 74-19 final.
Cloudland jumped out to a 19-0 lead deep into the first period.  The Lady Indians wouldn’t see their first score until 2:30 to go after hitting a three-pointer as they were forced to shoot from the perimeter throughout the period.
Cloudland could do no wrong as they hit shots from all over the court.  Karah Fields hit three treys in the first period alone as Kendall Birchfield would also add one from the corner. Ella Benfield ended up with 16 points on the night followed by Birchfield with 15.
The Lady Indians hit a three early on in the second period, but scoring would be scarce against a punishing Cloudland defense.  Midway through the period, the only scoring by the Lady Indians would come at the free-throw line.
The only saving grace for Hancock Co. was the outside shooting by Cassi Dalton.
However, Cloudland had their own hot hands with threes to counter anything the Lady Indians could put up.  It was quick ball movement, find the open shooter, score…rinse and repeat for the Lady Highlanders as they made a statement going into halftime leading 51-12.
The second half started off a little slower for Cloudland as they held back on the massive onslaught they unleashed in the first half, but scoring was still steady as it came more from the inside.
Midway through the third period, Benfield zipped in for a layup and got fouled with the shot counting.  This put Cloudland up 62-16 a little over halfway through the period.
A small ray of hope emerged for the Indians on back-to-back steals, but they could only muster a basket and point on a foul.  The Lady ‘Lander rebounding was just too much for the Lady Indians on both sides of the court.
Birchfield continued the Cloudland long-ball, hot-hand with another three-pointer during the waning seconds of the period as Cloudland went up 65-18 going into the fourth period.
McKenzie Street for Cloudland continued the party with a trey two minutes into the period, further demoralizing the Lady Indians.
The remainder of the period was relatively quiet with a few more buckets by Cloudland, but the game was well in hand as the Lady ‘Landers finished off the Lady Indians in a crushing defeat.
Birchfield and Isabella Christman supported the big numbers from Benfield and Fields with nine and 12 points respectively.
Cloudland, 74-19
Cloudland (74)
Taylor Hicks 4, McKenzie Street 3, Kendall Birchfield 9, Ella Benfield 16, Katie Baldwin 5, Sahara McKinney 2, Ryan Turbyfill 8, Isabella Christman 12, Karen Fields 15.
Hancock Co. (19)
Reagan Collins 1, Madeline Dalton 2, Cassi Dalton 6, Madison Jarnigan 3, Lexi Linden 3, Jade Combs 4.
Cloudland……… 24  27  14  12 – 74
Hancock Co…….. 3    9    6    1 – 19

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