HAMPTON — Forced back into the cocoon, Elizabethton is starting to look like a butterfly again.
“This was a good win for our new team,” said Lady Cyclones’ head coach Len Dugger after a 59-55 win over Hampton at White-Van Huss Gymnasium on Tuesday night.
The Cyclones (19-4 overall) lost point guard Morgan Depew recently, but appear to be getting back on track after a hard-fought win over a gritty and determined Hampton team.
In the boys’ game, Elizabethton ran away in the first quarter and never looked back in a 68-39 domination.
One of the reasons the Lady Cyclones are still dangerous is senior Reazyn DeMoss, who totaled 17 points and seven rebounds.
“It’s a lot different, but I think we’re finally starting to come together,” said DeMoss. “It was a little tough at the beginning, but we’re starting to get used to it.”
Helping things fall into place have been freshmen twins, Kayla and Kelci Marosites. They combined for 28 points and nine rebounds with Kayla totaling 15 and seven.
“If you throw it to them, they will knock it down,” said DeMoss. “They are just very dependable. I’m glad they are on our team. They have helped us so much.”
Whitney Roberts also played a key role in the win with 12 points, and she has stepped up her game recently.
“What I’ve asked the seniors — Whitney, Reazyn and Savannah (Madgett) to do is be leaders for the young kids,” said Dugger. “They have really stepped up as leaders.”
Trailing 41-34 midway through the third quarter, the Lady Cyclones changed the course of the game with a 12-0 run. From there to the finish, it pretty much settled into a one-possession battle.
Three times in the final minute, Hampton tied the game with buckets — two from Danielle Guinn. However, DeMoss answered twice, and Roberts made the eventual game-winner with 18 seconds remaining on a layup.
Hampton (19-6) had a chance to tie or win, but couldn’t get a good look. Alexis Bowers was forced to launch a 25-footer that came up short. Kayla Marosites rebounded and then iced the win with two free throws.
Bulldogs’ standout Dorothy Dugger had 10 points in the first quarter, but finished with 12. She is averaging 20 points per game.
“That was huge,” said Len Dugger. “We talked about every time she caught it, trying to be within an arm’s length. I thought our team did a good job of knowing where she was.”
Guinn led the Lady Bulldogs with 13 points.
Bursting out of the gates with a teamwork-dominated 24-6 first quarter, the Cyclones strolled to the victory.
The first eight minutes was a thing of beauty for the Cyclones.
“I’m just glad we kept playing the way we’ve been playing,” said Cyclones’ head coach Lucas Honeycutt, who returned to the place where he played high school basketball. “I’m glad we kept the momentum going.”
The Cyclones defeated Hampton at home, but needed a missed layup at the buzzer to secure victory.
“It’s a big confidence boost,” said Honeycutt of the blowout win. “It shows we have improved a lot.”
Will Robinson led the way with 15 points and six rebounds for the Cyclones, who improved to 17-6. Aaron Miller added 14 points and seven rebounds. Zeke Clark chipped in with 12 points and eight assists. Zach Norwood added eight points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Honeycutt said he liked the way his team handled itself when Hampton made a comeback attempt in the third quarter. The Bulldogs went on a 9-0 run to close within 47-30, but Elizabethton finished the period with a 6-2 spurt.
“They pulled it back in themselves without us having to take a timeout,” said Honeycutt. “They are starting to understand the game better.”
Stanley Valentine led the Bulldogs (15-9) with eight points and seven rebounds.