For three and a half quarters, the ‘Landers went toe-to-toe with one of the top teams in the area. However, the final four minutes went the other way.

Cloudland was unable to overcome a fourth quarter rally as they fell 57-47 to Unicoi County on Thursday night in Erwin.

In the girls’ game, Cloudland was unable to shake off a slow start to the second half as they fell 42-33 to the Lady Blue Devils.

The boys game saw Cloudland come out strong as five players recorded points to push the ‘Landers to a 14-6 first quarter lead. The ‘Landers flirted with a 12-point lead twice in the second quarter, but Unicoi cut the gap to 29-22 entering the halftime.

Austin Whitehead and Preston Benfield recorded seven points apiece in the first half for the ‘Landers.

In the second half, Cloudland quickly pushed their lead out, but the Blue Devils ended the quarter within three points. Unicoi County heated up in the final quarter as three players scored six points in the frame to roll to the win.

Cloudland was paced by Benfield’s 14 points, while Whitehead had nine points in the game. Cameron Stevens ended the game with five points.

In the girls’ game, points were at a premium in the first quarter as Kendall Mull scored five points in the opening stanza to give Cloudland a 9-8 advantage after the frame. The Lady ‘Landers maintained their lead in the second as Faith Russell tossed in five points as Cloudland held a 21-17 lead at the third quarter.

After the half, the Lady Blue Devils came out of the gate strong as they raced out to a 31-28 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Cloudland was unable to capitalize on opportunities in the final period as they were limited to just one field goal.

Mull led Cloudland with 13 points, while Shian Strickland and Russell had five points apiece.

Cloudland returns to action on Friday as they travel to Providence Academy.

Postgame Audio

Cloudland Boys Head Coach Gary Harrison

Cloudland Girls Head Coach Matt Birchfield