Star Christmas Shootout Coverage; TAD girls lasso Star title

11:44 am | December 23, 2011

The T.A. Dugger Lady Jr. Cyclones are in the business of winning and winning often. Thursday night, in the championship round of the Elizabethon Star Christmas Shootout against the Happy Valley, the Orange & Black swarm set about proving that business was good with a solid 42-24 victory that was never in doubt.

Photo by Danny Davis - Shown being defended by Happy Valley’s Sydney Puckett, Kayla Marosites guided T.A. Dugger’s varsity to victory with a 19-point performance at the East Tennessee Sports Complex.

Coach Lucas Honeycutt’s charges surpassed expectations throughout the game with scoring at will early and defense that virtually shut down the Lady Jr. Warriors all game long. Afterwards, the young former Hampton Bulldog’s gratification was palpable.

“The girls were really excited tonight and it was great to see them go out and get it done from the very outset,” said Honeycutt in the wake of the victory. “The excitement coming in was really at a high level since we do not get to play our crosstown rival Happy Valley in the regular season. I think our girls made a statement tonight about that rivalry with their play, and this gives us a lot of confidence heading into our schedule going forward.”

Kayla Marosites got the offensive tirade started for the Lady Jr. Cyclones on the opening offensive possession as she went strong to the hole for a contested layup that garnered the youngster a 3-point play for the game’s first points.

Her first-half dominance would not end there, though, as another 3-point play at the 2:00 mark of the first quarter as well as a deep corner three off an Emily Kiser aerial midway through the second quarter, were major highlights in what would become a 19-point, 5-rebound night for the reliable scorer.

Although Kalee Johnson would begin to make her presence felt with good inside play for the Lady Jr. Warriors, tallying six points in the first half, suffocating halfcourt D by the Lady Jr. Cyclones set the score at 27-11 going into the break.

The second half began with shades of scoring prowess being displayed by Happy Valley as Jamie Lee Clark nailed two open 15-footers in what would become a 6-point night, and Johnson continued to cut into the Lady Jr. Cyclone advantage in an offensive performance that would garner her a team-high 12 points. Despite the effort of the two teammates early in the second half, they were only able to pull the margin to 10 by the 4:00 mark of the third quarter in the face of a Lady Jr. Cyclone press that implored devastating trap play.

The resulting destruction of Lady Jr. Warrior passing lanes ended three straight offensive possessions and fed a blossoming Lady Jr. Cyclone transition game with Haley Burleson at the helm. The seventh-grader would end up with seven points in quick transition on the night, and her quick slashing lay-ins coupled with strong post play from Shy Bowers, who would finish five points on the night, propelled the scoring margin to 40-22 early in the fourth quarter.

Both teams sought to gain experience for their younger players in the game’s final quarter, and the resulting 42-24 final proved that the Lady Jr. Cyclones are as merciful as they are dominant.

Five TAD players attained all-tournament status in the championship run, with Melenda Perry, Shy Bowers, Kelci Marosites, Emily Kiser and tournament MVP Kayla Marosites all getting nods. Jamie Lee Clark, Kalee Johnson and speedster Kennedy Richardson all took home the same honors for the Lady Jr. Warriors.


Third-place boys 



Colby Birchfield continued his offensive dominance on the year with 16 points, and Preston Benfield showed why he was worthy of all-tournament honors as well with 18 points in a hard-fought victory over the Mosheim Indians.

The 43-36 final score was indicative of the game’s close nature, and a late Jr. Highlander surge at the 3:00 mark of the fourth was needed to tie and eventually pull away from a scrappy Mosheim team which struggled with turnovers in the second half.

Jacob Peters and Jordan Fillers each finished with 10 points for the Indians in a losing effort that appeared to be a winning one late into the game’s second half. The win allowed the Cloudland to take a home a third-place tournament trophy alongside the TAD boys’ JV, which earned a spot in third with a victory over Unicoi during Wednesday night’s play, the Richlands girls’ JV and the Chuckey-Doak varsity girls.


Boys JV championship


Happy Valley……………………22 

It took virtually four quarters, but the scoring tandem of shooting guard Takeem Young and post-threat Leau-Austin Williams propelled the Jr. Greene Devils to the JV championship. The win allowed Greeneville to join its varsity brethren in hoisting championship trophies this year at the Elizabethton Star Christmas shootout.

The game was close throughout as tough, defensive-minded play locked the two teams in ties that would result in an 18-18 halftime tally.

Austin Hicks was prevalent for the Jr. Warriors in the post in what would become a 12-point outing, and teammate Sam Blevins counted 12 points of his own on the night. Ultimately, though, the duo could not adequately counteract Williams’ dominant 18-point post performance or Young’s 15 high-flying tallies.


Girls JV championship

T.A. Dugger………………………34


Photo by Danny Davis - The Lady Jr. Cyclones’ Haley Burleson attempts to wriggle her way to the hoop in junior varsity play versus Greeneville.

Nail-biting overtime victories have not been the norm for the Lady Jr. Cyclones’ JV squad this season, but Thursday night Rikki Baughman’s charges needed every last second to capture a victory over a GMS Lady Jr. Greene Devil squad that was intent on taking home its own hardware.

Haley Burleson carried the scoring load for the Orange & Black with 17 points on the evening, and one of her late buckets was crucial as it tied the game before the end of regulation.

Sydney Lollar and Sydney Leonard declared war on behalf of the Lady Jr. Greene Devils as Lollar tallied 16 points from her power forward position, and Leonard rang up 10 from the post. Tough Lady Jr. Greene Devil defensive play hampered much of the Lady Jr. Cyclones’ offensive threat for most of the game, and Burleson’s late push coupled with Britany Campbell’s post play in the extra period — great inside movement that would earn her eight points on the night — was vital in attaining the exciting win.


Consolation Scores and Notes

-Hampton’s JV girls defeated the Cloudland 31-19 in consolation play.

-Cloudland’s JV boys defeated E.B. Stanley 43-30 for fifth place.

-Cloudland’s girls earned fifth place with a 34-29 win over Church Hill in consolation play. Davi Heaton paced the Lady Jr. ’Landers with 15 poitns while Peyton Johnson had eight. Josie Solyer led the Lady Panthers with seven.

-Mosheim’s varsity girls defeated Hunter 42-25 for fifth place. Kaley Valentine led the Lady Indians with 11 points while Ashley Doss had a superb evening in the losing effort, totaling with 16 points and five rebounds.

-The junior varsity girls of Happy Valley defeated Chuckey-Doak 36-30 in a fifth-place game that required overtime.



Third-place JV boys

T.A. Dugger………………………59

Unicoi County………………….39

With John Ramsey pouring in 16 points, T.A. Dugger rolled past Unicoi County in the third-place game of the Elizabethton Star Christmas Shootout.

Russell Carter and Hunter Vines added 10 points apiece for the Jr. Cyclones. Josh Arthur garnered eight points and Hayden Townsend

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