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Originally published: 2014-01-22 20:56:54
Last modified: 2014-01-22 20:57:40

Cloudland girls pick up steam with wins over Johnson County, Hampton

Matt Laws / (

The Lady ‘Landers picked up a key 45-33 conference win over Hampton on Friday, Jan. 17, inside Sonny Smith Gymnasium after opening the week with a 59-42 victory over Johnson County.

On Friday night, the Lady ‘Landers gained some breathing room in the second half to take the victory. Cloudland jumped out early to take an 11-4 lead after a quarter of play. Hampton closed the gap to three points, but the Lady ‘Landers battled back to hold a 19-12 lead in the final minute. However, the Lady Bulldogs got four quick points to cut the Cloudland lead to 19-16 at the half.

In the third quarter, the Lady Bulldogs pulled within two points, but Courtney Wilson and Kendall Mull hit shots to give Cloudland a 10-point lead heading into the final stanza. From there, the Lady ‘Landers, which led by as many as 14 points in the quarter, kept Hampton from getting any closer than eight points to secure the victory.

“We had a good first quarter but it’s unacceptable when you give up a bucket and layup to end the half,” Cloudland coach Matt Birchfield said. “We’ve got smarter players than that. That allowed them to go in at the half on a high. Our defense was much better in the second half, plus we also got the ball inside to Wilson. She missed some shots in the first half that she normally makes, but she made them when it counted down the stretch. I thought that Clarke did a good job of running the offense.”

To read the complete story, please pick up a copy of your hometown newspaper, The Avery Journal-Times, available at almost 100 locations in Newland, Banner Elk, Crossnore, Spruce Pine and Roan Mountain, Tenn. To subscribe to The Avery Journal-Times, please call (828) 733-0401 or click to