Providence Academy managed to keep Cloudland within reach for most of the first half, but what began as a drizzle of points became a torrent as the Highlanders rained threes on the beleaguered Knights in the second half.
Freshman Logan Russell hit three treys and scored 12 points — all in the second half — as Cloudland (13-7 overall) defeated the Knights 74-50 on Tuesday night at Sonny Smith Gym in a non-conference match.
“Logan Russell had a pretty good night,” said Highlanders head coach Brandon Carpenter. “We had a lot of young kids come in and play well tonight, but we have to do a better job on defense. We reached a lot and you play defense with your feet, not your hands.”
Junior forward Dylan McClellan led all scorers with 18 for the ’Landers despite sitting out the fourth period, and Cloudland saw four players hit double figures against an overmatched Providence squad (11-5).
“We don’t have the depth to stay with Cloudland,” said Providence head coach Martin Sells. “And eventually it catches up with you. The third quarter was a killer because they hit about five threes, and that pretty much was the ballgame.”
The ’Landers led 16-11 after one period and the score stood at 24-19 in the second quarter, when junior forward Devin Whitehead lit the fuse that ignited the Cloudland scoring burst.
Whitehead buried a three, then followed up with a steal and was fouled while attempting a three at the other end. Whitehead sank all three free throws to make it a 30-19 game, and the ’Landers took a 34-22 advantage into the break.
Russell opened the third period hitting three straight treys, and Jonathan Hill also buried a long-range shot as Cloudland erupted for 27 points in the period to put itself ahead 61-32 going into the final stanza.
For Providence, Kenny Quinn led the way with 17 points and Maclain Grable tallied 13.
Zack Miller scored 11 for Cloudland while Hill totaled 10.
The magic number for the Lady ’Landers was 23, as in the number of turnovers forced on the Lady Knights as Cloudland rolled to its 20th win of the season.
Junior post Brooke Rhodes scored a game-high 22 points and had 10 rebounds. Courtney Wilson added 10 points, but saw her night cut short as she fouled out in the third period.
“We got a good effort out of a lot of our kids,” said Cloudland head coach Matt Birchfield. “Brooke had a double-double and we worked on getting the ball inside to her a lot. We got to work on some things, worked on our intensity, and got a lot of kids playing time.”
The ’Landers (20-3) put Providence away in the early going with a 28-5 first period and extended to a 37-8 halftime advantage as the Lady Knights had a lot of problems with the Cloudland press defense.
Providence managed just three field goals and five successful free throws in the contest, but two of the Lady Knights made shots were threes. The Providence girls finished 3-for- 30 from the floor overall and 2-for- 12 from range.
“We pressed a lot tonight, we always do,” said Birchfield. “That’s a big part of our game. Now we have to get ready for a big game on Friday night against Hampton.