Sullivan Central found out first hand Friday night at Treadway Gym.
The Cyclones rode the hot shooting of Evan Perkins and Parker Hughes, who combined for 38 points, to a 68-44 blowout of the Cougars in the regular season finale for both teams.
“Best offensive performance of the year, by far,” said Cyclones’ head coach Lucas Honeycutt. “The kids were sharing the ball, shooting it with confidence, and that’s something we’re used to seeing in practice. I don’t know if people thought we were crazy, but the kids came out and showed what they are capable of tonight.”
Assuring itself of at least a tie for fourth place in the Three Rivers Conference, the Cyclones finished with a 6-6 league record despite an overall mark of 8-20. Elizabethton will play Sullivan South on Friday in a District 1-AA elimination contest.
Central finished 5-7 in conference play.
Perkins bagged five trey trophies while Hughes cashed in for a pair. Perkins finished with 20 points with Hughes close behind at 18.
And there was more. Nico Ashley connected on back-to-back first-quarter three-balls and finished with 10 points. Will Miller patrolled the paint and rounded up 10 points.
Perkins said the offensive output was a product of perseverance.
“At the first of the season we weren’t hitting our shots, but we were playing really good defense,” said Perkins. “That’s what we always rely on. We stuck to the plan, knowing the shots would eventually fall. And that happened tonight.”
Perkins said he believes there will be carry over into next week’s district tournament on the Cyclones’ home court.
“The district is here, so we’ve got a lot of confidence,” he said. “We will be ready.”
Jordan Self, one of the top offensive threats in the Three Rivers, did his thing. He finished with 22 points with a variety of soft touches in the lane, and also knocking down three trey balls.
Central 57, Elizabethton 33
In her first year of high school basketball at Sullivan Central, Kristi Moody and her teammates celebrated a league title.
Little did she know at the time, but that would be the Lady Cougars’ last championship until Friday night — in Kristi Moody Walling’s first year as a head coach. Central finished 10-2 in league play, outdistancing Unicoi County and Sullivan South by one game. The Lady Cyclones ended with a 4-8 conference mark.
Perhaps Central wasn’t comfortable with its 12-point halftime lead as the Lady Cougars came out smoking hot. They outscored Elizabethton 23-2 in the period to take a 52-19 edge into the fourth quarter.
LEADING THE WAY
Sullivan Central (14-9 overall) got a superb effort from Peyton Sams. She worked her way to 18 points. Sams’ teammate Abbey Crawford scored 11 of her 15 points in the second half. Avery Leming chipped in with 10 points.
For Elizabethton (9-18), Destiny Little and Camryn Koroma each totaled eight points.