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Lady Cyclones cure first-half shooting ills, dismiss Panthers

Dylan Young • Feb 28, 2020 at 9:26 PM

ELIZABETHTON—Basketball can be a game of scoring runs.

For the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones, all of their small runs accumulated into one big run for a Region 1-AA quarterfinal victory.

The Lady Cyclones outscored visiting Cumberland Gap 48-16 from the 1:30 mark of the second quarter. Consequently, Elizabethton flipped its struggling start for a 54-29 win at Treadway Gym.

“The second half opened up for us,” Elizabethton coach Lucas Andrews said. “We had some easy buckets go in to start us on the right track in the second half. We were up front on the press and made it hard for Cumberland Gap. The offense followed.”

Elizabethton (21-10) advanced to the semifinal round, where it will face South Greene on Monday at 6 p.m. at Grainger High School (Rutledge).

For the Lady Panthers (12-16), their season came to an end.

Three players entered double figures en route to the win. Kaylen Shell scored a co-team-high 12 points, Kaitlin Bailey netted 12, too, and Morgan Headrick followed with 10.

“Being a senior, you don’t want it to end,” Shell said. “I wanted to get it going and I think a bunch of us did. We didn’t play well in the first half, but we all started to play as we played in the second half.”

Shell scored seven of her 12 points in the very beginning of the 48-16 run to ignite the storm.

Much of Cumberland Gap’s scoring came from Nevaeh Kerns with 12 points.

The Lady Cyclones struggled to score early in the first quarter after only one field goal fell through in nearly six minutes.

Cumberland Gap capitalized on Elizabethton’s troubles with a 6-0 spurt for an 8-3 start.

Elizabethton’s shooting slump carried into the second quarter as ’Betsy went without a field goal for another six minutes.

“It could’ve been first -ound jitters,” Andrews said. “We were trying to get it going and the shots weren’t falling. The rim began to look smaller, but we turned it around.”

Fortunately for the home team, the next shot hit to begin a 7-0 run that knotted the score at 13. Shell scored five of the seven points on the run.

Cumberland Gap retained the lead before half, though, by converting an and-1.

Elizabethton trailed 16-13.

A quick start to the second half gave the Lady Cyclones a 17-16 advantage. Shell continued to find a bucket with her make and Lina Lyon followed with a basket underneath.

Elizabethton grabbed a 19-16 lead by extending the run from the second quarter to 13-3.

The momentum began to favor the Lady Cyclones as they started another surge, this time outscoring Cumberland Gap 13-2 over five minutes for a 32-21 lead after three.

Elizabethton kept its rhythm in the final quarter, too.

The Lady Cyclones’ lead reached 43-23 after back-to-back triples — one ending in a four-point play by Morgan Headrick.

“We had two big threes that pushed it out,” Andrews said. “Once that starts to happen it makes it easier for everybody on the floor.”

The fourth quarter unfolded similarly to the third as Elizabethton generated several small runs to increase its lead.

Elizabethton’s second half allowed it to survive for another shot in the region semis.

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