Lady ‘Landers upend Unicoi; ‘Lander rally falls short



It was a mixed bag of treats for the Cloudland varsity teams on their trip to Erwin.

The Lady Highlanders were able to earn a 50-45 win over The Lady Blue Devils while the Blue Devils survived a rally from the Highlanders to earn a 54-47 victory in the nightcap.

The Lady Highlanders moved to 14-12 on the year while the Cloudland boys fell to 14-11.

Cloudland 50, Unicoi County 45 (girls)

Payton Johnson led the way with 17 points on the night as the Lady ‘Landers put an upset on senior night festivities.

“This is a tough place to get a win at,” Cloudland head coach Lucas Andrews said. “I’ve been coaching for around eight years and this is the first win I’ve had over here.”

Unicoi County didn’t back down in the first frame and hopped out to a 11-5 lead heading into the second quarter.

Johnson received the green light, leading the ‘Landers on a 24-8 advantage to give the team a 29-19 lead at the half.

With the senior handling the scoring, the underclassmen shined in the second quarter with Megan Lunsford drilling her five points in the frame and Trinity Vines asserting herself down low.

“We haven’t given our young girls a chance to be young,” Andrews said following the victory. “They’ve had big roles since day one … Coach (Kerri) King made a few adjustments we haven’t seen before, face-guarding a lot of our kids. I appreciated her doing that because it is big for our kids going into tournament time to adjust to things like that, and I thought they did that pretty well tonight.”

Vines tacked on 11 points while Shian Strickland tacked on 10 points to lead Cloudland in double figures.

Johanna Johnson added three points, Erin Julian finished with four points

The Lady Blue Devils were led by 17 points from senior Hannah Rice and eight-point performances from Neelee Griffith and Chloe Powers.

Unicoi County 54, Cloudland 47 (boys)

After getting down by a 28-12 score at halftime, Cloudland was able to overtake the lead in the fourth quarter but were able to hang on in the nightcap Thursday night.

Colby Birchfield led the team in double figures with 12 points while nine Highlanders reached the scorebook.

Cloudland took the lead at the 5:16 mark off a 3-pointer by Preston Benfield but were unable to hang on late against the pressure defense from the Blue Devils.

Clay Simpson led Unicoi County with 14 points while Jacob Smith and Trevor Hensley reached double figures with 13 and 11 points.


Cloudland returns to action on Tuesday, Feb. 16, at home for senior night against Providence Academy. Unicoi County will host Happy Valley on Friday, Feb. 12, to conclude their Three Rivers Conference schedule.

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