For the ‘Landers, it was what the doctor ordered.
A night after having illness limit a number of players, Cloudland battled back to take a 54-53 victory over Unicoi County in the boys’ game inside Sonny Smith Gymnasium on Tuesday.
The Lady ‘Landers, however, weren’t as lucky as they were unable to overcome a slow shooting performance in a 45-38 loss to the Lady Blue Devils.
Cloudland had to battle early to keep pace with Unicoi in the boys’ clash. Unicoi ran out to a 12-4 lead before Jesse Potter hit a 3-pointer and Dalton Vines added a basket as Cloudland trailed 17-11 at the end of the first quarter. Back-to-back points from Chris Wagoner and Preston Benfield closed the gap to one point to open the second quarter.
The teams traded points before Benfield and Potter tied the game at 27. The Blue Devils added a late basket to take a 29-27 lead at the half.
The third quarter saw Benfield and Vines push Cloudland ahead quickly before the Blue Devils ran the lead back to eight points. However, Benfield and the ‘Landers rallied to within one point entering the final quarter.
Colby Birchfield and Wagoner answered to open the fourth, but Unicoi answered to take a 53-51 lead with 2:46 to play. With 1:22 on the clock, Benfield hit a bucket to tie the game and then added a free throw with 30 seconds remaining to push Cloudland to the win.
Benfield led the way with 18 points, while Vines had 12 points. Birchfield had six points. Trevor Hensley and Dylan Putman had 15 points apiece to pace Unicoi.
In the girls’ game, neither team was able to get anything going offensively as Unicoi led 10-6. Cloudland opened the second quarter with a Lisa Ellis trey and Shian Strickland added a free throw to tie the game at 10. However, a quick 8-2 Unicoi run gave the Lady Blue Devils an 18-12 lead, and set the stage for Unicoi to take a 22-13 lead at the half.
The Lady ‘Landers battled with points Patricia Singleton and Ellis buckets. Payton Johnson and Strickland added points to close the gap to 33-27 at the end of the third quarter.
In the final period, Cloudland closed the gap to two points on back-to-back points from Trinity Vines. However, that was as close as CHS could get before time expired.
Strickland led the way with 14 points, while Johnson added six points. Singleton finished with five points.
Hannah Rice had 16 points for Unicoi.
Cloudland Head Coach Lucas Andrews
Cloudland Head Coach Gary Harrison
For more photos, click here.