BY IVAN SANDERS, Elizabethton Star
The Elizabethton Cyclones are finding that being the point man in the Three River’s Conference is a challenging spot to be in as night in and night out the bull’s eye is directly focused on taking the Cyclones down.
Sullivan South was the latest conference foe looking to deal the Cyclones their first conference loss and had things going their way for 30 minutes of play before Elizabethton pulled it together to shoot down the Rebels and maintain a perfect conference record with a 58-54 win coming in the last two minutes of play.
South blasted out to a 21-15 lead at the first stop of the contest as Ben Diamond was filling up the Rebel basket with eight points in the opening quarter of action. Chase Bowery was a thorn in the flesh as well for South as he hit for six points in helping his team gain the early upper hand.
Nico Ashley kept the Cyclones close hitting for five points with Bryson Rollins totaling three.
The Rebels took advantage of a cool second quarter offensively by Elizabethton to build their lead to 33-21 at the half as the Cyclones managed only six points in the stanza.
Rollins, Parker Hughes, and Corbin Montgomery scored the only three field goals of the quarter for the Cyclones.
Cooper Johnson and Caleb Vaughn converted a trey each to help the Rebels outscore ‘Betsy 12-6 to extend the Rebel advantage to 12 points.
The game was played dead even in the third quarter as both teams managed to flip the scoreboard to the tune of 12 points each.
Cyclone senior Eric Wilson had the hot hand in the quarter dropping in eight points converting two three’s and hitting 2-of-4 from the foul line. Rollins and Carter Everett converted a field goal apiece as well.
Cole Layne and Diamond keep the pressure on for the Rebels hitting for six and four points respectively.
Elizabethton finally came alive in the final eight minutes of play as the Cyclones rattled the rim for 25 points in the quarter while holding the home-standing Rebels to only 9 points down the stretch.
Evan Perkins led the Cyclone charge dropping in eight points in the period hitting two treys and a field goal. Rollins and Wilson also had a big hand in the surge with seven points each.
The Cyclones (4-0, 10-3) earned the win partially to their ability to hit their free throws as they drained 11-of-14 from the foul line in the fourth quarter. For the contest, Elizabethton was 17-of-28 from the charity stripe.
Wilson led a trio of Cyclones in double figures with 15 points followed closely by Rollins with 14 points. Perkins added 10 points.
Hughes finished the contest with 7 points with Ashley (5), Everett (4), and Montgomery (3) finishing out the scoring.
Diamond finished the game with 15 points to lead South (1-2, 14-6). Layne added 14 points while Bowery collected 12 points.