Lady Cyclones looking for first state win

Douglas Fritz • Mar 6, 2013 at 5:37 PM

MURFREESBORO — Making its fourth trip to the Class AA state basketball tournament, Elizabethton’s girls are still looking for their first win.

The Lady Cyclones will get a chance for revenge as they take on Martin Westview today at 2 p.m. (EST) in a quarterfinal contest. Westview eliminated Elizabethton in the first round in 2009 on a shot with three seconds left in the game.

The Lady Cyclones also lost in the quarterfinals in 2005 and 2011.

Cyclones’ head coach Len Dugger pointed out some similarities from the last meeting with Westview.

“They had a Rechis then (Amber) and they’ve got a Rechis now (Tiffany),” said Dugger. “We had a Pietrowski then (Mariah) and we have a Pietrowski now (Megan). And we’ve got a set of twins (Kayla and Kelci Marosites) and they’ve got a set of twins (Kayla and Kendall Leyhue).”

Elizabethton is 28-4, having won 11 games in a row. The Lady Chargers are 29-6, losing twice in the postseason to Covington, but beating Memphis Manassas in the sectional.

In a Class A contest, Cloudland (24-11) will take on Union City (30-3) at 11 a.m.

Westview leans heavily on post player Teddy Vincent. The 5-11 senior has been the Lady Chargers’ go-to player inside the paint.

However, Westview likes to crank from the perimeter, averaging 20 3-point attempts per game.

The Leyhue twins are also key performers. Kaley is a 5-11 junior guard while Kendall is a 5-9 forward.

Westview doesn’t have all-time leading scorer Amber Rechis this time. However, Tiffany Rechis is a major factor for the Lady Chargers. She had 27 points and hit seven 3-pointers in the 62-35 win over Manassas.

Kayla Leyhue added 14 points and knocked down four trey balls.

“They are a team that is very well-coached and very disciplined offensively,” said Dugger. “We haven’t seen them on film but I think their guards are intelligent, especially basketball-wise. And if their point guard is 5-11, she’s bigger than anybody we’ve got except for Savannah Madgett.”

Dugger, whose team is led by seniors Reazyn DeMoss and Whitney Roberts along with the freshmen twins, said the girls will have to get through the nerves.

“We will probably have to fight through like most teams do,” said Dugger. “But I think the way we’ve come through in big games of late, I think we’re up for that challenge. I hope going to summer camp (at Middle Tennessee State University) will provide a real familiarity.

“I still think one huge key for playing in the state is shooting well. That helps you get comfortable more quickly.”

Cloudland vs. Union City — The Lady Highlanders will bank on the play of Class A Miss Basketball finalist Brooke Rhodes.

Meanwhile, Union City has been without its best player all season and still found a way to win 30 games. Amber Fair, who averaged 21 points and nine rebounds a game while leading Union City to the state semifinals in 2012, suffered a torn ACL in the preseason and did not play this year.

Jackie Hudson, a 5-8 junior, and Tory Reedy, a 5-8 senior point guard, have picked up the slack. Hudson had 13 points in Union’s 46-32 win over Middleton in the sectional.

“Hudson is inside and outside, and she’s a great player,” said Cloudland head coach Matt Birchfield. “Hudson can do it all, but their point guard is their glue. We will have to do a good job on her.”

Birchfield said rebounding will be a key.

“They are a team that dominates the boards,” said Birchfield. “We can’t give them second and third shots. We have to keep them off the boards.”

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