BLUFF CITY – It certainly wasn’t pretty, but the Cyclones got the job done.
Elizabethton held off an upset-minded Sullivan North squad for a 63-46 victory in the District 1-AA Quarterfinals at Sullivan East. The Cyclones did so without Tyler Nichols and Hunter Green, who were absent due to illness.
Elizabethton advances to face the winner of Friday’s quarterfinal between Sullivan East and Happy Valley on Saturday afternoon.
Bo Pless put the Cyclones on the board first, and Elizabethton pulled out to a 14-11 lead with just under to play in the first quarter after a Michael Robinson 3-pointer. A quick Raider 7-2 run closed the Cyclone lead to 16-13 heading into the second quarter.
Austin Cornett and Pless scored early points to open the second stanza for Elizabethton, but Austin Smith hit back-to-back jumpers to tie the game with three minutes to play in the first half. Robinson drained a trey to break the stalemate and Conley Bowers hit a tough inside shot to send the Cyclones to the locker room with a 25-20 lead.
Bowers sparked Elizabethton to begin the second half as the Cyclones extended the lead to 35-24, in part to a Robinson 3-pointer. However, Zack Byrns drained a pair of 3-pointers for Sullivan North that pulled the Raiders back within five points.
After Bowers added a bucket, Gage Ball and Byrns hit baskets to tie the game at 37-37. However, Pless and Bowers added inside shots to give Elizabethton a 41-37 lead after three quarters of play.
The Cyclones and Raiders traded shots to open the fourth quarter. Pless, however, answered the call as he knocked down back-to-back buckets and Cornett hit a trey to extend the Elizabethton lead to nine, and then Cornett went six-for-six down the stretch to help Elizabethton survive and advance.
Cornett finished with a team-high 17 points, while Pless and Bowers had 16 and 15 points, respectively. Robinson connected on four 3-pointers to finish with 12 points.
Byrns led North with 18 points.
Elizabethton’s Austin Cornett