BY BRYCE PHILLIPS, Elizabethton Star
After a triumphant run through the district tournament, the Lady Cyclones fell to Grainger, 50-42, Monday night inside the Happy Valley High School.
The loss in the Region 1-AA semifinals brought the Lady Cyclones’ season to an end, a season that saw Elizabethton storm to a District 1-AA Tournament title after a slow regular season.
“A lot of people didn’t expect us to be in this game,” said Elizabethton head coach Lucas Andrews. “I credit our seniors for that. Throughout the whole year, another team would have laid down and quit. They kept pushing and pushing. They just had the right attitude, and it showed in the postseason.”
The Lady Cyclones came out strong. In the opening minutes, Elizabethton took a 5-0 lead as Kaylen Shell hit a three and Abbey Townsend made good on a pair of free throws. Down the first-quarter stretch, the Lady Cyclones had back-to-back buckets from Morgan Headrick and Townsend that allowed EHS to take a 9-5 lead into the second quarter.
With less than a minute left in the half, the Lady Grizzlies took advantage of some Lady Cyclone miscues to rattle off seven straight points before taking a 20-17 lead into the half.
“They are too good of a team to let that happen,” said Andrews. “We got into some foul trouble, and we didn’t get set up into our press defense. We made crucial mistakes and gave them some momentum.”
Grainger worked out to a six-point lead in the third before a pair 3-balls from Shell and Headrick sent Elizabethton into the fourth trailing 35-31.
In the fourth, even though Elizabethton went 9-of-10 from the foul line, the Lady Cyclones couldn’t overcome the Lady Grizzlies lead. Headrick would convert four straight foul shots to make it a 37-35 contest before the Lady Grizzlies threw up an unanswered seven points to jump back out to a 44-35 edge. From there, Grainger outpaced EHS to a win.
Shell led Elizabethton with 19 while Headrick posted 15. Both Torrie Roberts and Cheyenne VanHuss had two while Townsend finished with four.