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Perkins-led Cyclones put away Bears

Kevin Mays • Dec 22, 2018 at 2:42 AM

BIG STONE GAP — Elizabethton is off to one of its best starts in recent memory and senior Evan Perkins had his best game Friday 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,” Perkins said.

The senior’s points total topped his previous career-high mark of 27, which he hit last season.

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

GOING TO PERKINS

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

“That’s one thing we focus on. If anybody’s got the hot hand, we try to get them the ball,” said Perkins, one of a handful of seniors who’ve helped Elizabethton to a 9-1 start.

“We’re doing pretty good this year. A whole lot better than last year. We had a young group last year,” he said. “We got a whole lot better over the offseason. 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.

“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

Zack Moore’s Bears (1-4) had a tough time defending Perkins.

“He got going early. I thought we did a bad job of playing and helping through screens that they were setting for him,” the coach said. “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 Union’s second of the 2018-19 campaign without scoring leader and captain Wes Slagle, whose season ended early because of a torn ACL for the second year in a row.

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

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

LADY BEARS STAY UNBEATEN

Union (5-0) got 23 points from Jayda Smith and 15 from Emili Brooks in a 54-37 victory over Elizabethton (2-7).

“I thought we played very solid defensively in the first half,” Lady Bears coach Kory Bostic said. “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 with 18 points.

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