Cyclones overpower Cumberland Gap in 67-42 victory

Douglas Fritz • Feb 23, 2013 at 11:20 PM

ELIZABETHTON — It was a board bash for Elizabethton.

The Cyclones outrebounded smallish Cumberland Gap by a margin of 21 and rolled to a 67-42 victory in the Region 1-AA basketball quarterfinals Saturday night at Treadway Gym.

“I was pretty comfortable with the way we hit the boards,” said Elizabethton head coach Lucas Honeycutt. “We did that all night. It was something we focused on, and it helped relieve any worries.”

The Cyclones improved to 24-6 will take on Sullivan North (16-14) in Tuesday’s semifinal contest at 6 p.m. North advanced with a 72-45 pounding of Grainger.

Tuesday’s other semifinal will match Sullivan East (25-7) against Chuckey-Doak (20-10) at 7:45 p.m. The Patriots outlasted Greeneville 80-77 while Doak stopped Happy Valley, 57-45.

Elizabethton started with a bang, jumping out to a 17-4 lead. However, the Panthers called timeout and got things settled enough to stay within 31-21 at the break.

The Cyclones didn’t take complete control of the game until a 13-2 spurt to close the third quarter with a 49-29 advantage.

Michael Wagner played a key role once again for the Cyclones, totaling 15 points and 10 rebounds.

“I was looking to come in and dominate the paint,” said Wagner. “Coach Honeycutt said if I played to my potential, they couldn’t guard me inside. So I came in with that mindset.”

Wagner was part of a 52-31 rebounding advantage for the Cyclones, which included a 28-11 domination in the first half.

Will Robinson shook off a rough outing in the district final with a nice bounce-back effort. The senior totaled nine points and 13 rebounds.

Zach Norwood totaled 12 points and seven rebounds as part of a strong overall balanced effort for the Cyclones. Seven Elizabethton players had at least six points.

“It’s nice to have that,” said Honeycutt. “I felt like we were a little flat, and then we made some substitutions and got some good minutes from our bench. That puts some doubt in the other team’s mind.”

Point guard Zeke Clark added six points, six assists and five rebounds. Aaron Miller chipped in with seven points and seven rebounds.

As good as things went for the Cyclones, there wasn’t a lot of celebrating after the game. The focus turned quickly to Sullivan North, a team the Cyclones beat by 30 and 26 points in the regular season — but a team playing better of late.

“We know we’ve had two good games against them, and we want to have another,” said Honeycutt. “We know North is playing better, and they’ve got seniors who don’t want to go home. We’ve just got to do the little things and not worry about the other stuff.”

Nathan Hatmaker was the main man for Cumberland Gap, which finished at 17-12. He totaled 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

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