ELIZABETHTON — Brayden Phillips was the man on the spot and he helped Elizabethton get some revenge on University High.
Phillips’ heady play — grabbing the rebound after he missed a free throw — enabled the Cyclones to hold off UH 72-70 in a non-conference basketball game Monday night at John Treadway Gymnasium.
Phillips was fouled with four seconds left and his team clinging to a 71-70 lead. He made the first free throw, but missed the second. Somehow, with all of his teammates on the other end of the court, he got the rebound in the midst of four University High players and dribbled out the clock.
“That was a heads up play,” Elizabethton coach Lucas Honeycutt said. “That’s the kind of kid he is. He’s a smart kid. He hasn’t gotten a lot of time, but he never complains or anything like that.”
Phillips’ heroics were made necessary by a rousing comeback from University High. With Kaleb Meredith scoring 22 points in the fourth quarter, the Bucs turned what had been a 14-point deficit into a lead.
UH led by one point three times in the closing minutes, but each time Elizabethton made a play to pull ahead.
Parker Hughes put the Cyclones (6-12) on top for good with a driving layup with 47 seconds left.
UH turned up the heat and used a combination of 3-point shots and steals to score nine points in a row midway through the fourth quarter. That turned what had been a contest controlled by Elizabethton for much of the night to anybody’s ballgame. The Bucs scored 37 points in the fourth quarter.
“We just started hitting some shots,” said UH coach Herman Rice, whose team fell to 9-8. “When we’re shooting well, our intensity level goes up. First half, we didn’t shoot well and our effort on the defensive end wasn’t good. We told them at halftime, it doesn’t matter if we’re shooting well, that does not excuse effort. They bought into it and came out with a better effort in the second half.”
Niko Ashley led Elizabethton with 23 points. Hughes finished with 16, while William Willocks had 15 and Jake Roberts had 11.
Meredith finished with 25 points, while Mason Broome had 17 and Marshall Fleenor had 14.
Ashley and Meredith both fouled out.
UH had beaten Elizabethton 78-69 earlier this season.
University High scored first, but then it was all Elizabethton in a 69-21 decision.
The Lady Cyclones dominated the first two quarters, jumping out to a 54-13 halftime lead Before letting their feet off the gas.
Elizabethton (12-8) was led by Kaitlin Bailey’s 18 points. Lina Lyon added 17, while Kelsie Winters and Morgan Headrick had 10 apiece.
University High (0-20) was led by Mauri Johnson, who had 12 points.