Four players finished with double digits for Elizabethton as it was led by Eric Wilson with 16 points. Carter Everett had 14 while Evan Perkins and Nico Ashley each accounted for 10.
“We talked a lot about tempo and how they like to speed people up and play fast,” Cyclones head coach Lucas Honeycutt said. “That’s their game and they shot it really well tonight. Our defense was pretty good tonight, but a lot of the shots that they made were contested and pretty good shots. We really controlled the pace of the game and played our style.”
The run-and-gun Patriots did shoot the ball well from the outside, nailing 13 3-pointers, but made just six shots inside the arc.
Dustin Bartley led East with 15 while Adam Davison and Dylan Bartley each had 12.
The key point in the game came in the fourth quarter, when Elizabethton got up by eight points with less than three minutes to go. There was a sequence on offense that did not go the Patriots’ way, ending with a player-control foul and Patriot coach John Dyer getting hit with a technical foul.
Wilson went to the charity stripe and sunk two free throws to put Elizabethton up 10 at 58-48.
East would not go away quietly as it cut the lead down to four quickly with two long balls. However, on the subsequent possessions for the Patriots, turnovers plagued them and Elizabethton was able to successfully defend home court — hitting a layup to put the game out of reach.
“I told them to be patient,” Honeycutt said. “They just needed to go down and run the offense. They went down the floor and got easy buckets. They executed well those last few possessions.
“(Everett) had an injury last year and couldn’t play. It could’ve made us a whole different team had he played. He’s a matchup problem. He can guard anywhere on the floor and he can step up and hit a three on offense.”
Elizabethton 56, Sullivan East 50
The Lady Cyclones (2-5, 1-0) have been struggling for the most part this season, but they got league play started on the right foot with a win over rival Sullivan East (4-6, 0-1) behind Kaylen Shell’s 25-point night.
Elizabethton did not get off to a good start, falling in a 10-0 hole early on and every other possession seeming to be a turnover. The first points of the game for ’Betsy came at the 3:57 mark in the first quarter with a bucket by Kelsie Winters.
The Cyclones, however, closed the first quarter on a 11-2 run and trailed by only a point going into the second quarter.
They carried that momentum from the first, continuing the run and taking a 13-12 lead on a basket from Shell. Elizabethton stretched the lead to as much as nine points before East even scored again. For the longest period, the Lady Patriots’ only points were from the free-throw line.
East’s first made field goal since midway in the first came with 1:26 left in the half. The Lady Cyclones took a 21-16 lead into the locker room.
The Lady Patriots came out on fire in the second half and tied the game with a quick 5-0 burst.
The third quarter was a lot of back and forth with East seizing a 34-33 lead going into the final stanza.
The final six and a half minutes produced seven ties, but the lead never changed hands once Elizabethton seized it at 39-37.
The Lady Cyclones hit a couple of key buckets down the stretch and Shell was able to grab the game-sealing offensive rebound off of a missed free throw with less than 40 seconds to go.
Hayley Grubb led Sullivan East with 21 while Riley Wilson contributed 16.
Abbey Townsend was in double figure for Elizabethton with 10.