‘Landers Edge Happy Valley in Tight Battle; Lady ‘Landers Roll Past Lady Warriors



A county clash proved to be a battle.

The Cloudland boys held on for a 47-46 victory over Happy Valley in nonconference play on Tuesday night inside Sonny Smith Gymnasium.

In the girls’ contest, Cloudland used early runs to pull away and take a 53-21 win over the Lady Warriors.

In the boys’ game, it was a back-and-forth battle in the early going.

Caleb Sluder opened the scoring for Cloudland, but Alex Lunceford answered for the Warriors with five straight points. Victor Hicks sparked an 8-3 Cloudland run to push the CHS lead. HV, however, answered with a quick four-point lead to tie the game at 12-12 after a quarter of play.

Blake Young pushed HV back in front to open the second stanza. Cloudland answered with a 12-0 run that was capped by an Eli Benfield 3-pointer to take a 26-17 lead.

The Warriors countered with quick buckets from Lunceford and Young to close the gap. The teams traded shots over the final minute as Cloudland held a 28-24 lead at the half.

The two teams continued to trade shots in the second half.

Bentley Gilbert and Lunceford opened the scoring for their respective teams as the margin was maintained for the open portion of the third quarter.

The Warriors made a move with a quick 7-0 run to tie the game at 35-35 and again at 37-37 in the closing minutes of the stanza.

Cloudland, however, saw Benfield knock down a three-pointer in the closing moments to give Cloudland a 40-37 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.

Happy Valley answer in the opening minutes as Andrew Little and Lunceford hit shots to spark a 5-0 run that gave HV a 42-40 lead at the midpoint of the quarter. Cloudland answered with a key basket from Hicks.

Dylan Shell hit a 3-pointer to give CHS a one-point advantage, and Cloudland held on in the frantic final minutes to take the victory.

Hicks led Cloudland with 18 points, while Gilbert added 11 points. Sluder and Benfield had six points apiece.

Happy Valley was paced by Young’s game-high 19 points, while Lunceford had 13 points. Andrew Clawson added six points.

In the girls’ game, Cloudland took control early and never looked back.

After Happy Valley’s Olivia Absher hit the game’s first bucket, Leah Birchfield and Mandy Benfield hit back-to-back shots to give Cloudland the lead. The Lady Warriors evened the score with a bucket from Gabby Wood.

Cloudland answered in a big way as CHS reeled off the next 14 points to end the quarter with an 18-4 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Jasmine Birchfield, L. Birchfield and Benfield pushed the CHS lead to 20 points.

Emma Blevins and Absher hit shots for HV, but the Lady Warriors were unable to trim into the Cloudland lead.

The Lady ‘Landers held a 31-8 halftime advantage.

It was much the same in the second half as Cloudland limited Happy Valley’s opportunities.

Benfield had a game-high 16 points to pace Cloudland. Gracie Freeman had 12 points, while L. Birchfield had seven points.

Absher led the way for Happy Valley as she tallied seven points. Kadie Bailey and Blevins had five points apiece.

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