BY IVAN SANDERS, Elizabethton Star
Elizabethton head coach Lucas Andrews has been waiting all season for his Lady Cyclones to put together a complete 32-minutes of action as the team has squandered opportunities to pick up wins throughout the season by letting those games slip through their fingers.
Friday night on Senior Night, the Lady Cyclones finally delivered the game their coach knew they were capable of against the visiting Unicoi County Lady Blue Devils inside John Treadway Gym taking down their visitors, 50-38.
Owens shot sets the tone
The Lady Cyclones roster contains only three seniors-Abbey Townsend, Cassey Fowler, and Jordan Owens.
With Townsend and Fowler getting quality minutes during the season, it was only fitting on Senior Night that Owens would set the tone for the contest as she stepped outside the 3-point arc and nailed a trey for the game’s first points.
When the shot swished home, the whole Lady Cyclone bench was on their feet celebrating the bucket.
Taking the lead
After a first quarter that saw the period end in an 11-11 tie, both teams battled in the second quarter to establish a lead before the half.
Although the Lady Blue Devils Chloe Powers drilled five treys in the first half, it was the Lady Cyclones that managed to clutch tight to a 25-24 lead at the break.
McKendra Norris, Kaylen Shell, and Torrie Roberts totaled six points each in the half to help Elizabethton build their slim advantage.
Playing with a purpose
The Lady Cyclones came out of the break and fundamentally did everything they needed to do to continue to increase their advantage playing solid defense, boxing out on the boards, and scoring when they had the good shot.
The result was Elizabethton outscoring Unicoi Co. 11-8 in the quarter to take a 36-32 lead into the final quarter of play.
Morgan Headrick was a beast offensively in the period recording 9 of the 11 points for the Lady Cyclones from under the bucket and taking advantage of foul shots when given the opportunity to hit 3-of-4 free throws in the quarter.
Finishing what they started
In previous games, the Lady Cyclones would have the lead and somehow allow their opponents to weasel their way back into the game and rip the win away.
This wasn’t the case against the Lady Blue Devils as the Lady Cyclones played even better in the final quarter than the previous three periods holding the blue and white to only six points.
Elizabethton, meanwhile, exploded for 14 points in the quarter to secure the win as Shell scored seven of the 14 points the Lady Cyclones recorded.
What the scorebook showed in the end
Shell finished with 13 points to lead the Lady Cyclones while Headrick was on her heels with 12 points of her own.
Roberts finished with 8 points while Norris collected 6 points. Townsend’s final Senior Night resulted in five points for the senior.
Owens closed out the game with three points as did Cheyenne VanHuss who knocked down a triple as well.
Powers finished with a game-high 17 points for the Lady Blue Devils with only two points coming after the half. Allee Griffith chipped in 8 points in the loss.
Andrews tickled with team’s performance
“We came out and got to honor our seniors tonight,” said Andrews. “They came out and did their job and everyone else did too—it was a group effort.
“We finished tonight. The biggest thing that I can remember is looking down the stretch, I don’t think that we gave up an offensive rebound and we needed that against South, and we needed that against Happy Valley.
“We made some foul shots and were able to execute on offense,” continued Andrews. “Unicoi Co. is a very good team. The inside game was huge for us tonight as well. We established the inside game, and the outside game opened up. We put some things together that we have been preaching for a couple of weeks.”