Cyclones grab some momentum going into tourney time, beat Warriors

Published 10:02 am Monday, February 13, 2023

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By Ron Marvel
Star Correspondent
The Happy Valley Warriors were able to hang for the first quarter but the athletic ability and shooting of the Elizabethton Cyclones proved to be too much. The Elizabethton Cyclones looking to gain steam before next week’s District Tournament game against Volunteer were able to distance themselves in the second period and never looked back. The early going went well for the Warriors as Ron Paul Parker flashed his athletic ability and pushed the Warriors out to an early but a three-pointer by Dalton Mitchell would push the game to a 14-9 Cyclones lead at 2:14 in the first period. The Warriors answered with a Dakota Grindstaff 3-pointer but after that, the Cyclones would get rolling and not look back. It was by no coincidence that as the Cyclones trap game started working, the Warriors offensive game plan started unraveling.
A floater by Mitchell and a 3-pointer by Nate Stephen quickly pushed the lead to 25-11 at the 5:49 mark of the second period. Stephens would get a one-handed off-arm layup to keep the Cyclones run going, and unfortunately for the Warriors, a few misses at the free-throw line would hinder any answers. To make matters worse the Warriors would lose one of the better shooters as Cole Deakins would foul out with 3:11 left in the second. Luke Whaley would find Jackson Hobbs on a backdoor cutter to push the Cyclone lead to 42-17, and after a Justius Wallin layup, the Elizabethton lead would grow to thirty before the break.
The second half would see Donovan Maxwell provide a bit of a spark for the Warriors but the Cyclones were too much as they would maintain their lead throughout the third. Cyclones Coach Honeycutt would empty his bench in the final period and the Cyclones would close the game out with a 76 -49 win. Dalton Mitchell would score 20 on the night and Nate Stephens would finish with 18; both players would have three 3-pointers and for the night, 13 different Cyclones would score. For the Warriors Ron Paul Parker would have 15, Dakota Grindstaff would score 11 and Donovan Maxwell would chip in 10 off the bench.
Dalton Mitchell would share how this game would help prepare the Cyclone for the upcoming District Tourney “playing together as a team will help us through the districts; if you play another team that doesn’t play together you will beat that team regardless of their talent.” Coach Honeycutt would share his thoughts about his opener with Volunteer, “we have played them twice, we look at matchups and see where we can exploit them; they are doing the same thing with us; you don’t want to get too far away from the things in your preparation.”

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