Cyclones split with Hilltoppers as Girls go on big run to pick up win

Published 2:24 pm Friday, December 15, 2023

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By Ron Marvel

Star Correspondent

The Cyclones took on rival Science Hill Thursday night. While the girls found a second gear to push past the Lady Hilltoppers, the boys’ squad struggled to get their offense rolling in a contest that simply looked ugly at times.

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Girls – Cyclones 61, Hilltoppers 41

The Lady Cyclones embarked on a 16-4 run in the third quarter, working the paint for points and elevating their season record to 3-8. Tied at 32, the Cyclones directed the ball to Jamira Smalls, enabling her to secure pivotal points. As the Hilltoppers converged in the paint, the Lady Cyclones capitalized with three-pointers. Smalls scored 10 points in the quarter, while Kali Shepherd contributed two crucial shots, igniting the significant run.

In the earlier match, the combined efforts of Michelle Shields and Peyton McGee kept the Cyclones close as the Hilltoppers led by two points into halftime. Head Coach Lucas Andrews highlighted adjustments made during the game, switching defenses and emphasizing offensive strategies centered around their “bigs.” Jamira’s impactful shots and control in the paint, alongside early successful shots, turned the tide for the team.

Jamira Small finished the game with 15 points, with Michelle Shields contributing 13 and Peyton McGee adding 11. A significant aspect was the Lady Cyclones’ advantage at the charity stripe, shooting 79% compared to the Hilltoppers’ 42%. The Lady Cyclones’ next challenge awaits in Cherokee, NC, against Providence Day from Charlotte, NC, in a Christmas Tournament.

Boys – Hilltoppers 49, Cyclones 32

The Hilltoppers’ staunch defense and missed opportunities by the Cyclones created a deficit that proved insurmountable. For most of the first period, the Cyclones struggled, scoring only one point—a Justis Wallin free-throw. Andrew Barnett’s 3-pointer brought the score to 9-4, but a last-second 3-pointer by the Hilltoppers’ Jayshawn Swartz widened the gap to 8. Despite the Cyclones narrowing the lead at times, the Hilltoppers consistently responded with their own runs.

In the second period, Barnett’s three 3-pointers helped keep the Cyclones in the game, entering halftime at 25-16. Despite efforts to cut the lead, the Hilltoppers surged to maintain an advantage, finishing the game with a 16-point margin. Barnett led the team with 14 points, while Mac Paulson contributed nine as the Cyclones fell to 3-9 on the season. Their next match is against Chilhowie on December 21st, with a 6 pm tip-off.