Press Sports Writer
ELIZABETHTON — One thing Claiborne's girls probably could not have counted on was Elizabethton taking them for granted.
The Lady Cyclones started the game with 14 straight points, and later added unanswered scoring stretches of 12, 10, 10, 12 and 18 as they rolled to an 85-26 win in the quarterfinals of the Region 1-AA basketball tournament Friday night at Treadway Gymnasium.
Improving to 26-3 on the season, Elizabethton earned a spot in Monday's semifinals as the tournament shifts to Hal Henard Gym in Greeneville. The Lady Cyclones will take on Sullivan South, which held off Chuckey-Doak, 54-51.
Elizabethton will play South (18-13) at 6 p.m. The other semifinal will match Grainger (27-4) against Sullivan East (28-7) at 7:45. Grainger held off Happy Valley's upset bid, 67-54, while East denied Greeneville, 46-45.
Lady Cyclones' head coach Len Dugger said he was pleased his team came out strong.
“I did feel good that we came out with a lot of intensity,” said Dugger. “We played together and had a good rhythm with one another. We just talked about this being the next step in the process of what we are trying to do.”
The intensity carried over to the start of the second half, and the Cyclones put up a 31-point third-quarter effort.
“At halftime, I told them not to look at the score and just do what we do,” said Dugger, whose team led 43-15 at the break.
It was a night where Elizabethton didn't take any chances, no matter how big the favorite role. Kayla Marosites had eight points in the first 4:39 of the game, and never really let up. She finished with 28 points, five rebounds, and six steals.
Sister Kelci Marosites got hot early in the second quarter, and eventually finished with 15 points and four assists.
Basically the twins were doing their thing, but there was another scoring element that is making the Cyclones an even better team. Junior Megan Pietrowski totaled 15 points, displaying a variety of solid post moves.
“The more she moves, the more offensive opportunities she has,” said Dugger. “Tonight her attitude to the basket was more aggressive and stronger. The further we go, the more we're going to need her.”
Pietrowski said it was just a team situation allowing her to be successful.
“We just worked really hard,” said Pietrowski. “We just wanted to come out and play as a team.”
It certainly didn't hurt Pietrowski's chances of getting good looks at the basket when the defense was so concerned about the Marosites. It's a win-win for the team, said Pietrowski.
“When they are shooting it good and making really good passes inside, and we finish, it opens things up on the outside,” said Pietrowski.
Sophomore guard Emily Kiser also benefitted, totaling 11 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists.
Another key player for the Cyclones was point guard Sarah Bradley. Looking at the scoring column alone, a person could miss Bradley's value. She finished with 10 assists and four steals.
Elizabethton's 14-0 starting-gates burst was followed by a bit of a slow spell as Claiborne tried to get its footing. It was 16-5 when the Cyclones began their second double-digit run, moving ahead 28-5 early in the second quarter.
After Claiborne scored, the Cyclones ripped off 10 more points in a row. Elizabethton had a 10-0 run and a 12-0 run around a Bulldogs' basket to open up a 67-21 edge in the third quarter.
Dakota Turner finished with 10 points and six rebounds for Claiborne (9-21).