Lady Cyclones over East Dave Boyd/Johnson City Press
Kayla and Kelci Marosites combined for 46 points, and the Lady Cyclones ran away for an 78-53 victory over Sullivan East in the championship game of the District 1-AA girls basketball tournament Tuesday night at Bayless Gym.
The Cyclones improved to 25-3, and will play host to Claiborne in Friday's Region 1-AA quarterfinal contest.
Sullivan East, which fell to 27-7, will also be at home Friday, taking on Greeneville.
In the third-place game, Sullivan South held off Happy Valley, 54-49. The Lady Rebels will travel to play Chuckey-Doak while the Lady Warriors will visit Grainger.
Kelci Marosites totaled 25 points and four assists while Kayla Marosites added 21 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Clearly, they were the difference on this night, but Elizabethton once again got plenty of help from other places.
“Kayla and Kelci do so much, but we have other players doing big things,” said Elizabethton head coach Len Dugger. “As many young players as we have out there, I was so proud of my team.”
Kelci was simply on fire in the first half, scoring 19 of her points and hitting five 3-pointers.
“It was definitely confidence after I hit one,” said Kelci. “And my teammates got me the ball in good spots.”
Tournament most valuable player Kayla Marosites said the win was about effort and defense.
“We were playing hard and playing defense and never gave up,” said Kayla.
Elizabethton built a 44-28 halftime lead, but it was just a 10-point game late in the third quarter before Kayla Marosites hit a late bucket. That touched off a run where the twins scored 18 of Elizabethton's 20 points as the Lady Cyclones pushed their lead to 72-48.
The twins were definitely in sync mode.
“We do have a connection just because we've played together for a while,” said Kayla.
Dugger said, “They read each other, and if one of them is in trouble the other one comes to help.”
Sarah Robinson was a big factor, especially when the game was at a frenetic pace. She did a good job of beating her defender to the basket and scoring in the open court.
“We talked to her a lot about that,” said Dugger. “It's like playing four guards.”
Robinson finished with 12 points. Emily Kiser added nine points and four assists.
Point guard Sarah Bradley totaled six points and seven assists.
“I told her if I had anything to do with it, Sarah Bradley would be on the all-tournament team,” said Dugger. “She has accepted her role, and she plays so hard on the defensive end.”
East had three players in double figures. Kara Stafford led the way with 13 points. Brandy Watkins totaled 12, and Tori James added 11.
Sullivan South 54, Happy Valley 49
The Lady Warriors kept pecking away in the fourth quarter, and Jamie Lee Clark's 3-pointer with 32.8 seconds left pulled them within three points.
But the Lady Rebels had just enough answers at the free throw line, and Brayden Hutchins came up with a key steal with 23 seconds left when Happy Valley had a chance to tie.
South head coach Tori Haile said it was good to have this game end on a positive note.
“We fought hard last night, and it didn't turn out so well,” said Haile. “I was proud of the effort, even though we did miss some free throws there at the end.”
Hutchins led South with 17 points, but Kayla Tipton was probably the difference in the game as she totaled 10 points and 20 rebounds. Abby Conkin added 13 points while Morgan Seymore chipped in with 12.
Happy Valley got 12 points each from Clark and Mackenzie Blankenship.