Lady Cyclones roll as Elizabethton hits the road to take on Blue Devils

Published 4:34 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2023

By Ron Marvel
Star Correspondent
Elizabethton traveled to Unicoi in conference play Tuesday night as the Lady Cyclones looked to keep the momentum going as the boys looked to get off their four-game slide.
Girls- Elizabethton 59 Unicoi 40
It was obvious the Blue Devils had a game plan to contain the Lady Cyclones; slow the pace down to a crawl;  It worked for one period. The Unicoi Lady Blue Devils would score first against the #4 ranked Lady Cyclones, but an answer would come quickly off an Olivia Holly floater. First-period action would go back and forth and the Lady Cyclones would struggle to get their potent offense going. The Blue Devil would enjoy a small lead for most of the first period. Olivia Holly would hit a long three-pointer to make the score 6-5 at the 5:44 mark of the first period, where it would stay for the next three minutes of the period. The Cyclones and Blue Devils would trade baskets to make it 8-7 by the 1:31 mark. Renna Lane would then hit a short jumper to make it 11-9 with :32 seconds left in the first period. Lane would hit another jumper to tie the game at the buzzer, making it 11-11 to start the second period.
The Lady Cyclones would turn up the defensive pressure using the long arms of Marlee Mathena and Renna Lane to contest passing lanes and clamp down, relying on their speed in their half-court defense. The Lady Cyclones would push the lead to lead to 19-16 after a Holly three-pointer. After an outlet pass from Katie Lee, Lina Lyon would finish the layup to get the Cyclone offense rolling, pushing the lead to eight after a Reiley Whitson layup off the assist from Lyon. The Lady Cyclones would push the lead to 29-18 as Olivia Holly would score her tenth point of the half. The Lady Blue Devils would be fouled on a half-court three-pointer with .5 seconds left and they would take advantage when Unicoi’s Faith Bennett would hit two of her three free throws to make the score 29-20 going into the break.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Whitson and Lane followed up with a steal and layup that would quickly push a nine-point lead to 17 at 4:48 mark of the second period. Unicoi often appeared as though they would underestimate the team speed of the Lady  Cyclones, which led to several Blue Devil turnovers. Rebounds off the offensive board would help push the lead to 20 at 45-25, at the 2:28 mark of the third period. The aggressive style of the Lady Cyclones would put Unicoi into the Bonus early in the fourth period but even with that, the Lady Cyclones would keep their advantage throughout the fourth period closing the game out at 59-40.
Renna Lane would lead all scorers with 19, while Lina Lyon would add 18 and Olivia Holly ten points. After the game, Renna Lane would talk about her team’s attitude and focus, “we knew we weren’t playing our basketball, we had to adjust; it wasn’t a pretty win at the end of the day we came together.” Coach Lucas Andrews spoke about how his team adjusted to Unicoi’s game plan “we have to do better adjusting and playing to our style and standard; we are a mature team, so we adjust and play better defense which lead to offensive opportunities.”
Boys – Unicoi 60 Elizabethton 36
A close game at the break got out of hand as the Cyclones struggled to hit their shots in the second half. Nate Stephens would tie things up at five a piece after a three-pointer from the left side. In the opening minutes, Mason Ball would muscle a shot up but would fail to hit his follow-up three-pointer to make the score 9-9 at the 4:11 mark of the first period. Dalton Mitchell would hit a three-pointer to give the Cyclones a lead at 12-9. The Cyclones would go into the second period up two at 17-15. The back-and-forth contest would continue; Stephens would bring the Cyclones to within one point at 20-19 with a reverse layup before the Blue Devils would go on a 5-0 run. Mason would score off an offensive rebound to bring the Cyclones to within two, but the Blue Devils would maintain their small lead going the locker room up 27-22 courtesy of a couple of free throws.
The third period would see the Cyclones get a number of good looks but just could not consistently get the ball to fall. Unicoi would push the lead to 49-31 going into the final period as the Cyclones shooting woes continued and the Blue Devils would maintain a double-digit lead pushing it to as many as 20 at the 5:14 mark of the fourth period. The Cyclones would continue to play hard throughout but would drop their fifth contest in a roll; no Cyclone would get into double digits on the night as Nate Stephens and Mac Paulson would both score seven and Mason Ball and Jackson Hobbs would each add six.
The Boys fell to 7-14 on the season, while the Lady Cyclones improved to 21-4; they both will host Tennessee High Friday night.

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