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With Perkins heating up for career-high 34, Cyclones win

Kevin Mays • Dec 21, 2018 at 10:50 PM

BIG STONE GAP — Elizabethton is off to one of its best starts in recent memory and senior Evan Perkins had his best game Friday night to help the Cyclones keep up their solid play.

Perkins scored a career-high 34 points, including six 3-point shots, to lead Elizabethton to a 62-53 interstate basketball win over Union.

“I didn’t feel too good in warm-ups. But usually when I don’t have a good warm-up, I have a good game,” said Perkins.

The senior’s 34 points top his previous career-high mark of 27 he scored in a game last season.

“It was just a really good night. It felt good and the team played well,” said Perkins.

QUICK START

Perkins scored 12 of the Cyclones’ 17 first-quarter points. He never let up the rest of the contest and got plenty of feeds from his teammates on the way to the big night.

“That’s one thing we focus on,” the senior said. “If anybody’s got the hot hand, we try to get them ball.”

Perkins is one of a handful of seniors who have helped Elizabethton to a 9-1 start on the season.

“We’re doing pretty good this year — a whole lot better than last year,” Perkins said. “We had a young group last year. We got a whole lot better over the off-season. A lot of people worked on improving their game.”

STRONG DEFENSE

Elizabethton coach Lucas Honeycutt said his team had a hard time dealing with Union’s strong, physical play and quickness of the Bears’ guards early in the game.

“Once we settled in on defense, that was kind of the key,” Honeycutt said. “And, of course, we had a big night out of Evan Perkins. He just had the hot hand and I thought our guys did a really good guy of finding him and feeding him.”

SEARCHING FOR A LEADER

Union coach Zack Moore said it was tough for his team to defend Perkins.

“He got going early,” Moore said. “I thought we did a bad job of playing and helping through screens that they were setting for him. And when we got to him, our hands were down. As a shooter, when the hands are down it’s like nobody’s guarding you.”

The game was the second of the season for Union (1-4) without it’s scoring leader and captain Wes Slagle.

For the second year in a row, Slagle’s season has ended early because of a torn ACL injury.

“We’re trying to figure out, and it may take a while, how to come up with 25 points,” Moore said. “That’s essentially what we’re missing. We’re going to have to play differently. We’re subbing more guys and play a different style.

“We’ll figure it out. I’m not sure exactly when, but we’ll figure it out.”

UNION GIRLS STAY UNBEATEN

In Friday’s girls’ game, Union got 23 points from Jayda Smith and 15 more from Emili Brooks to take a 54-37 victory over Elizabethton (2-7).

“I thought we played very solid defensively in the first half,” said Union coach Kory Bostic after watching his team improve to 5-0 on the year. “We tried to mix it up a little bit and create some transition opportunities for us out of our press — and we’ve been pretty fortunate with it. It’s a process that we’re trying to continue to improve.”

Kaylen Shell led Elizabethton’s scorers with 18 points.

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