UH erases double-digit deficit to thwart Highlanders

Tanner Cook • Feb 4, 2020 at 10:01 PM

A huge 19-point second half by Kaleb Meredith helped propel University High to a 66-58 win over Watauga Valley Conference foe Cloudland on Tuesday night inside Brooks Gym.

Meredith ended the contest with 23 points while teammate Marshall Fleenor netted 24 points on six 3-pointers.

“How Kaleb and Marshall go is how we go,” University High head coach Herman Rice said. “Last night, Kaleb had 36. Tonight, he came out and his shot was a little flat. He’s very coachable and if you tell him that his shot is flat, he knows how to fix it. He’s that good of a player.”

The Buccaneers rallied from 13 points down after the opening period to tie the game for the first time at 41 with 3:42 left in the third.

“It was obvious we were not happy with the first quarter,” Rice said. “They had 29 points in the first quarter and then scored 29 points the rest of the game. Hats off to Cloudland, though. They played tough and they got us out of rhythm to start. It was not a pleasant locker room to be in at halftime and Coach (Jeff) Meredith made a great adjustment.”

The lead changed several times over the remaining 11 minutes and change, but the Bucs were able to go ahead for good when Meredith hit a driving layup with 1:51 to go and extend a 62-58 lead.

Hunter Shell finished with 18 points to lead Cloudland while Bentley Gilbert had 15.

Elijah Blair also had 10 for the Highlanders.

“We still haven’t gotten over that loss,” Rice said, referencing an early season 74-59 loss in Roan Mountain. “Cloudland played well up there and we didn’t. That was in the back of their minds, especially the seniors.”


Cloudland 50, University High 20

The Lady Bucs grabbed an early 6-0 lead behind two 3-pointers from Delaney Trosin and Ryleigh Owen with 5:30 left in the first quarter. However, it was all Cloudland after that.

“We started out a little slow, but our defense turned it up and got some transition buckets and that got us going,” Cloudland head coach Matt Birchfield said. “The biggest thing for us tonight was a lot of kids played and put in some good minutes.”

The Lady Highlanders proceeded to go on a 26-0 run before UH scored again at 4:51 in the second quarter. Cloudland led 33-9 at the break and cruised into the finish line.

Mandy Benfield led the No. 7 Lady ’Landers with a game-high 14 points followed by Jasmine Birchfield with 10.

Owen had nine points on three 3-pointers to lead University High.

“Having a ranking does kind of put a target on our back, but we still have to go night in and night out prepared just like everyone else,” Birchfield said.

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