Cyclones take triple overtime thriller over Patriots

Published 3:29 pm Sunday, January 8, 2023

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BLUFF CITY – If Fridays Great Lakes Conference boys conference opener between Elizabethton and Sullivan East was any indication, fans might want to start bringing a pillow, blanket, a supper picnic basket with a nighttime snack, along with a nerve pill to future conference games.
It took not one, not two, but three overtimes for the game to be settled between the two conference foes as the Cyclones took an exhilarating 110-109 win when a shot at the buzzer of the third overtime rimmed off the basket by East as the final horn sounded.
The Cyclones forced the first overtime after trailing by as many as 11 points with under five minutes to play in regulation.
Both teams played hard in the opening half as East managed to gain a slim upper hand in the half as the Patriots built a 42-39 advantage by the break.
Drake Fisher paced the home team in the first half as he collected 17 points in the first 16 minutes of action. Corbin Laisure complemented Fisher’s outburst with 10 points.
Elizabethton leaned on big man Mason Ball in the opening half as Ball used his size inside to muscle for 11 points to set the pace for the Cyclones. Nate Stephens added 10 points for the Cyclones while Dalton Mitchell netted eight.
Coming out of the locker room, East was the aggressor as the Patriots added to the lead by finishing the third period leading 61-53 setting up a highlight-reel fourth quarter.
Trailing by 11 points with time quickly ticking off the clock, the Cyclones went to work in the fourth quarter thanks to the offensive awakening by Mitchell who got things rolling by hitting a trey and drawing a foul for a four-point trip.
Ball then went to work in the middle scoring 13 in the quarter while Mitchell hit two more treys and a free throw to score 11 in the period and force the first overtime as both teams were knotted at 82-all.
Neither team could seem to put the other away in the first two overtimes as both wanted to walk away 1-0 in the conference at the end of the contest.
The Cyclones built a five-point lead in the third overtime before having to hold their breath on the final shot of the game up by one point before finally being able to walk away with the 110-109 win.
Elizabethton was paced by Ball who poured in 33 points. Mitchell was on Ball’s heels as he finished with 29 while Stephens was the third Cyclone with 20-plus points as he finished with 22.
While the top three scorers finished with more than 20 points, it was the unsung play of Will Churchill (7 points), Jackson Hobbs (6 points), Andrew Barnett (5 points), Mac Paulson (4 points) and Luke Whaley (4 points) who stepped up late with Mitchell and Ball fouling out in the second and third overtimes that helped the Cyclones earn the win.
Fisher finished with a game-high 42 points to lead the way for the Patriots. Laisure added 33 points for East in the loss while Tyler Cross netted 20 points.

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