The Patriots’ jackrabbit start was the impetus and East stayed in charge throughout a 71-60 win over the Cyclones on Tuesday night at The Dyer Dome.
“We’ve got a lot of improving to do, and we can improve,” said East head coach John Dyer, whose team reached the Class AA state tournament last year. “It was the first varsity conference game for a lot of our guys, and the ones who are back are playing in different roles.”
East (6-4) won its Three Rivers Conference opener while the Cyclones fell to 0-2 in league and stretched their season-opening losing streak to five games.
Trio of effectiveness
Dustin Bartley provided multi-range scoring en route to a team-high 19 points. He was complemented by Ethan Whitley, who totaled 16 points, and Adam Davison, who picked his spots to finish with 15 points.
The early run
Getting good scoring balance, the Patriots slapped Elizabethton with a 14-3 start. And even though the Cyclones found their legs thanks to the strong paint play of Eric Wilson, East still led 19-11 at the end of one period.
The Patriots stretched their lead to 14 points in the second quarter, but the Cyclones stayed within striking distance, 35-24, at halftime.
Wilson put together a warrior-like effort in the paint. He finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds, coming up with play after play despite a size disadvantage. He was a big part of the Cyclones keeping their hopes alive, and they even cut East’s lead to nine points in the fourth quarter.
Cyclones’ head coach Lucas Honeycutt said his team didn’t hit enough shots, but that wasn’t the deciding factor.
“It was more about getting matched up in transition,” he said. “We gave up a lot of easy baskets in transition.”