BY IVAN SANDERS, Elizabethton Star
While the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones have gone through a dry period as far as wins go, all the games against quality and larger opponents have been teaching lessons.
On Tuesday evening inside Treadway Gymnasium, the Lady Cyclones showed they were great students as Elizabethton had to overcome several lead exchanges and runs to down the Sullivan East Lady Patriots 56-50 for a key Three Rivers Conference win.
Getting the full Shell-shock treatment
In her last game, Elizabethton’s Kaylen Shell was showing the emotional stress of trying to help her team break out of their losing slump.
Tuesday night the tears being shed at Johnson County were traded in for a broad grin as Shell absolutely exploded against the Lady Patriots hitting a double-double in a huge way by scoring 26 points and ripping down 23 rebounds.
Shell’s performance seemed to energize her teammates as everyone that touched the court contributed in some way or another in the win.
Pulling it all together
The Lady Cyclones never seemed to get overwhelmed in the contest as each time Elizabethton tried to gain a little separation, the Lady Patriots made a run of their own before the Lady Cyclones answered the bell to stem the tide.
Showing great resolve, the Lady Cyclones were overcoming missing an inside presence as each player played their role to perfection by boxing out, rebounding, and handling the East press to make it a complete team win.
Checking out the scorebook
Besides Shell’s breakout performance, southpaw Abbey Townsend hit double figures on the night with 10 points.
Torrie Roberts etched her name in the scoring column with 7 points with Kelsie Winters chipping in with 6 points.
Cheyenne VanHuss and McKendra Norris closed out the scoring ledger with 5 and 3 points respectively.
Haley Grubb led Sullivan East with 21 points. Riley Nelson added 16 points.
Shell spills the beans
“We were all tired of losing and just ready for a win, and everyone contributed,” said Shell. “That’s why we won. Nobody was slacking off—we all had something to do, and everybody stepped up tonight.
“I just want to win so bad. We are young this year and only have three seniors so they have to have help. The junior class is stepping up.
“It’s definitely put a positive push to us because it’s been all negative for the last three weeks because we have been losing,” continued Shell. “We have been down, but tonight was really good.”
A welcome relief for a coach
“They have learned that we have to be the toughest team on the floor and I think that was the case tonight,” said Lady Cyclone coach Lucas Andrews. “We had to take those hits on the chin from the bigger schools and Grainger who is in our region.
“This was a physical game and East has some people sick and hurt just like we do, so I thought it was a battle and I figured it would be.
“I thought our girls had a few times to back off a little bit, but they didn’t,” continued Andrews. “Some things toward the end may have went against us, but they kept battling and going forward and showed what these girls are capable of if they all buy into what we want to do.
“The game planned changed right before the game and just to be able to tweak it and go on says a lot about these girls.”