ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. – Cyclone Tyler Nichols led the way with 17 points and was joined in double figures by Bo Pless and Conley Bowers in their 58-46 win against Unicoi County in Elizabethton Tuesday night.
‘Betsy goes to 16-8 on the year, 9-1 in the Three Rivers Conference, while the Blue Devils fell to 12-13 overall.
“They knew how important it was,” Elizabethton head coach Lucas Honeycutt said about his team. “Last year, we had a good game against them here and beat them pretty good then we went there and they did it to us. They knew there was still that possibility that if we don’t come out to play, they’d be ready.
“I thought Unicoi was really ready tonight. They did good job getting preparing for us. I thought we could have done a better job early on, mindset-wise, but I thought we did a good job at the times they made a run.”
Press finished with 14 points and Bowers added 10 points and eight boards.
“It got away from us early, 14 to 4,” Unicoi County head coach John English said. “Then 12-0 to open the fourth … those two runs combined, you’re looking at 26-4 and you get beat by 12. There were a lot of good things but we have to figure out a way to pull together a full 32 minutes. Like against East, they had the 12-0 run early in the fourth. Something early in the fourth isn’t jiving with us for some reason. Teams like Elizabethton and East press you, it is about making those basketball plays and we didn’t have enough tonight.”
The Blue Devils turned a 27-20 deficit at halftime to four points, 39-35, entering the fourth but a pair of 3’s from Michael Robinson helped the Cyclones go on their 12-0 run to pull away.
Merrick Nicksic and Trevor Hensley led the Blue Devils with 10 points each and Jacob Smith added nine with seven rebounds. Clay Simpson helped Unicoi County down low with six boards of his own.
With the win, the stage is set for the Cyclones to clinch the TRC crown next week with their road contest against Sullivan South.
Friday, Jan. 30 – Johnson County at Elizabethton
Friday, Jan. 30 – Sullivan South at Unicoi County