October 4, 2022

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Watch: Elizabethton crushes Northview Academy to earn state berth | Sports

ELIZABETHTON — It was all Elizabethton and all defense in the rematch.

The Lady Cyclones scored the first 10 points of the game, had a 16-point lead by the time the first quarter ended and crushed Northview Academy 61-19 in Saturday’s Class 3A girls sectional at Treadway Gymnasium.

It bore little resemblance to the teams’ first meeting in December, a four-point Elizabethton win on the neutral court at Rutledge. Playing in front of the home crowd with a state tournament berth on the line, the Lady Cyclones (25-6) were in control from start to finish.

They clamped down on the defensive end and held the Lady Cougars (20-14) to six field goals the entire game.

“I thought our girls knew the scouting report, knew the plan,” Elizabethton coach Lucas Andrews said. “The last three weeks, we’ve locked down on defense and sold out rebounding the basketball. This day and age, everybody wants to play offense. But, we’ve been harping the last month that we’re going to hang our hat on defense. Our kids have bought in big time and it shows.”

It clinched the 10th state tournament berth for the Elizabethton and the first since the Cyclones made four straight from 2013-16.

Lina Lyon, the whirlwind guard for the Cyclones, did her part to take the Lady Cougars out of the game. No matter if they tried to man up or play zone, she blew by defenders on her way to a game-high 19 points and nine assists.

The junior point guard talked about her team’s progression from the start of the season.

“This feels amazing. I feel we’ve gotten so much better as a team than when we played in December,” she said. “You could tell when we played Grainger and Greeneville (in the Region 1-3A tournament). I don’t know if we would have beaten them at the beginning of the season. We’ve really come far.”

The scoring was spread around as Marlee Mathena ended with 10 points and Olivia Holly had nine. Renna Lane and Katie Lee each scored eight.

With the Lady Cougars’ defense often focused on Lane, it created scoring opportunities for Holly, Lee and Maddie Fowler — who combined for seven 3-point goals.

“They were denying Renna early and it opened some things up,” Andrews said. “They started playing a zone, but we started seeing some gaps. We starting hitting outside and everybody was clicking on all cylinders.”

Lane added, “This team, no matter if they double me, Lina or whoever, we find a way to score. We get the ball to whoever needs it. On defense, our goal this season has been to hold teams to 40 points and we hold them to 19. That’s incredible. Our defense has definitely gotten us this far.”

Regan Brown accounted for 10 of Northview’s 19 points.