For just under 29 minutes, the short-staffed Happy Valley boys’ basketball team had Cloudland where they wanted them. The ‘Landers, however, had the answer when it mattered most.
Cloudland stormed back to take a 43-34 victory over the Warriors at Sonny Smith Gymnasium in a Saturday night clash.
In the girls’ contest, the Lady ‘Landers picked up a 47-28 victory over Happy Valley.
The boys’ game saw Happy Valley dictate the pace from the opening tip.
The Warriors, who dressed just seven players due to illness and injury, slowed the tempo down and jumped out to a 7-0 lead with Jacob Surcey providing the points. After Josh Blair and Robert Leeper put points on the board for Cloudland, Brayden Sams used an old-fashioned 3-point play to give HV a 13-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Warriors pushed the lead to 20-8 midway through the second, but Blair hit a jumper and Leeper went on a 7-3 run of his own as Happy Valley maintained a 23-17 advantage at the half.
After Cloudland closed the gap to one point to open the third quarter, Kevin Whitaker and Dakota Cochran hit back-to-back shots and Sams added a trey to push the lead back to 10 points. A Leeper 3-pointer pulled CHS back within seven points going into the final eight minutes.
The fourth quarter was all Cloudland as the ‘Landers methodically worked to get back in front.
Over the final eight minutes, CHS outscored the visitors 17-2 taking advantage of HV miscues in the closing moments.
Leeper led all scorers with 21 points. Blair added 12 points for Cloudland.
Sams had 11 points to pace HV, while Surcey added 10 points.
In the girls’ game, both teams had to overcome slow starts.
After a pair of Trinity Vines free throws put CHS on the board first, Tiana Long answered with an and-one to give the Lady Warriors a 3-2 lead midway through the quarter. Stacia Wilson knocked down a jumper, and Cloudland went on a 9-0 run to get back in front. A quick HV burst cut the Lady ‘Lander lead, but CHS held a 13-7 margin going into the second quarter.
Adrienne Hennegar and Long hit shots to open the second quarter as HV pulled back within one point. However, Abbey Gouge and Wilson answered for Cloudland. That gave CHS the momentum to move the lead to nine points. The ‘Lady ‘Landers maintained a 23-14 lead at the break.
Kenzie Birchfield and Vines set the tone for Cloudland to open the third. After Vines hit the jumper with an and one, Birchfield hit back-to-back shots to push Cloudland to a 14-point lead. From there, Cloudland maintained the advantage as HV was unable to get anything going offensively.
Despite a hard-fought effort, the Lady Warriors were unable to cut into the lead. The Lady ‘Landers secured the win by scoring the last five points of the game.
Wilson had 18 points to lead Cloudland, while Vines added 11 points. Birchfield scored eight points for the Cloudland cause.
Long had 10 points for the Lady Warriors.
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