ELIZABETHTON — Every time Elizabethton got within shouting distance, Sullivan East drowned out the noise with a trey ball.
The Patriots got nine 3-pointers from Austin Fleenor and David Casaday — and a double-double from Jonathan King — and held off the Cyclones 55-49 in an important Three Rivers Conference basketball game Friday night at Treadway Gymnasium.
East (3-0, 15-6) broke the first-place tie with Elizabethton, which fell to 2-1 in league play and 10-5 overall.
“This was a huge win,” said East head coach John Dyer. “We haven't won here very often. I think it's a hard place to play. We hung together, and I'm proud of our team.”
In the girls' game, Elizabethton ran away in the second half for a 62-35 win.
After a sluggish first half for both teams in the boys' game, East opened the third quarter with a 16-4 run that gave it a 35-20 lead. However, the Cyclones finally found an offensive groove and ripped off eight straight points.
Then Casaday delivered a crucial 3-stick to restore a double-digit lead at 38-28. The Cyclones closed the third quarter with five straight points before going 3:29 without scoring to start the fourth quarter.
Elizabethton started the final period with a five-possession stretch where it missed two short jumpers, turned the ball over twice, and missed two free throws. The 10 potential points would be sorely missed the rest of the game.
“I thought we were tight to start the game,” said Cyclones' head coach Lucas Honeycutt. “And then at the start of the fourth quarter, it was the same thing.
“We should have loosened up and been more relaxed, but (the Patriots) force you into situations. Then they come down and hit a three.”
Casaday, who finished with 14 points and three treys, hit a 3-pointer to make it 41-33. Later in the fourth quarter, Fleenor dialed home a pair of three balls to ice the victory.
Fleenor finished with 18 points, coming on six 3-pointers.
But for all of the good shooting by that duo, East likely wouldn't have won without the inside presence of King. The 6-foot-9 senior finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
King said he doesn't mind the long-range efforts of his teammates.
“I love it,” he said. “If they miss, I just rebound it. I want them to shoot any time. I'd rather get three points instead of two.”
Elizabethton got a consistent effort from point guard Zeke Clark, who finished with 18 points and three assists. Michael Wagner added 10 points while Will Robinson went to work for nine points and 11 rebounds.
“East causes you a lot of matchup problems,” said Honeycutt. “We are big, and not as quick.
“I felt going in we were 0-0 in the series, and didn't feel they were the top team. They are the top team now, but I look forward to playing them again.”
Elizabethton (girls) 62
Sullivan East 35
After leading by seven points at the break, the Lady Cyclones blew East away with a 22-2 third-quarter advantage.
Elizabethton's Reazyn DeMoss did a lot of damage throughout the game, finishing with with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
“Reazyn had one of the best games she's had,” said Cyclones' head coach Len Dugger. “And I thought it was a night where a lot of people made good contributions. We had good chemistry and worked better together.”
Morgan Depew added 11 points while Whitney Roberts totaled 11 rebounds for the Cyclones (3-0, 13-3).
East (0-2, 12-7) got 10 points from Savanna Summers.