Cyclones claim District 1-AA title in thrilling OT clash



In a heavyweight fight, the Elizabethton boys basketball team had the knockout punch.

The Cyclones claimed the District 1-AA Championship game with a 50-45 victory over Sullivan South on Tuesday at Happy Valley High School after scoring all five points of the extra period. Elizabethton will start the Region 1-AA tournament at home Saturday as the top-seed from District 1-AA.

On Tuesday night, it had the makings of a classic from the opening tip.

Nico Ashley opened the scoring with a jumper, and the teams traded shots until the Rebels used a 5-0 run to take a 9-7 lead. Evan Perkins and Parker Hughes hit back-to-back shots to remain the lead for EHS. However, South took a 13-12 lead into the second quarter with a last minute shot.

Ashley came out of the gate quick for Elizabethton in the second quarter. South, however, answered once again with a 9-0 run over the span of three minutes. Elizabethton saw Ashley break the run with a jumper, but the Cyclones trailed 22-20 at the half.

In the third quarter, Elizabethton scored quick and Eric Wilson pushed the EHS advantage to eight points three minutes into the half. South closed the to three points by the midpoint of the quarter, and the teams traded shots as EHS took a 40-36 lead into the final quarter after Wilson hit a buzzer-beating jumper.

Points came at a premium in the final stanza.

Cooper Johnson hit a 3-pointer early in the quarter to give South a 41-40 lead, but Bryson Rollins countered with a runner. The Rebels’ Ben Diamond went on a 4-1 run over the next three minutes to give South a 45-43 lead with 3:19. Rollins, however, scored with 2:14 to play in regulation to even things up.

Neither team was able to capitalize on opportunities over the final two minutes as the game was forced to overtime.

In overtime, Elizabethton held the ball for a majority of the extra four minutes, and Wilson covered an old-fashioned 3-point play to give EHS a 48-45 lead with 33 seconds remaining. After South saw a 3-pointer bounce off, Perkins hit a pair of free throws to seal the deal for Elizabethton.

Wilson led the way with 17 points, while Rollins had 10 points. Ashley finished with nine points.

South was paced by Gannon Chase’s 11 points. Diamond finished with 10 points.

Elizabethton was represented on the All-Tournament team by Perkins, Ashley and Rollins. Wilson was named the Tournament MVP.

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