Lady Cyclones send Lady Trojans sailing, advance to state semifinal

Published 5:25 pm Tuesday, March 7, 2023

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MURFREESBORO – The season hung in the balance for two girls’ basketball teams on Tuesday at the Murphy Center on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University as the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones squared off with the Dyersburg Lady Trojans with the winner advancing to Thursday’s semifinal contest and the loser heading back home thinking on what could have been.
Living off the foul line for the final 2:40 of the contest, the Lady Cyclones managed to hold onto their 12-point advantage to gain a berth opposite the winner of the Upperman – Jackson South Side contest on Thursday at 7 pm eastern time with a 66-54 win.
“That happens a lot to teams that play here,” said Cyclone head coach Lucas Andrews about the opening half when the Lady Cyclones had five close-in looks at the basket only to come away empty handed, “We told them before the game that they belonged here and you are playing the best in the state. You have to show you can beat those teams if that is what you want.”
With last year’s opening round loss to the eventual state champion Upperman still on their mind, the Lady Cyclones came out with determination not to take the same walk as they did last season.
The Lady Cyclones built a 13-12 lead after one period and extended that to 27-20 at the intermission.
A big reason for that was the play of seniors Renna Lane and Lina Lyon, who responded with nine and five points, respectively, while handling the pressure applied to the Trojans in getting the ball across midcourt onto the Lady Cyclone side.
Junior Marlee Mathena also had a big hand using her size inside to record six points, adding six boards and one blocked shot. Katie Lee did yeomen’s work as she scored four points but had six boards.
Crawford Taylor led Dyersburg in the opening half with eight points while Nettle Dixon contributed six for the Lady Trojans.
Coming out from the halftime break, the Lady Cyclones continued to work the glass while adding to their advantage building the lead to 17 points at one point before the Lady Trojans continued to battle back cutting it to eight points at one stage.
Heading into the final eight minutes, Elizabethton continued to manage the scoreboard and after time was called by Andrews, the Lady Trojans resorted to putting the Lady Cyclones on the line almost every possession going forward.
Typically a good free-throw shooting team, the Lady Cyclones found themselves leaving valuable points on the glass missing on several attempts while Taylor turned the Dyersburg offense into a one-man show taking the ball right at the Lady Cyclone defense time after time.
However, Elizabethton wasn’t about to let this one slip away as they settled to take the big win.
Taylor was the leading scorer in the game as she threw in 33 points, scoring 25 in the second half. Dixon also hit double figures with 13.
Lyon led the Lady Cyclones with a team-high 19 points, five boards, three assists, and three steals in a complete game performance. Mathena added a double-double with 18 points, 13 rebounds, and one block.
Lane also collected a double-double scoring 14 points, hauling in 10 rebounds and one block.
Reiley Whitson played key minutes for Elizabethton as she contributed with eight points, five rebounds, and a steal. Lee was a monster inside scoring six points but more importantly sweeping the glass for eight rebounds, and adding an assist. Olivia Holly chipped in with one point.
As a team, the Cyclones shot 37% in the first half and 53% in the second to finish the game at 42.6%. They were 3-of-17 from beyond the arc and 23-of-38 from the foul line – hitting 17-of-30 in the fourth quarter.

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