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Lady Eagles can't have heads in the Clouds on Monday night

Cosby senior Lexi Lowery goes to the basket and is fouled during the second half of the Lady Eagles 51-38 win over Unaka in Friday night’s Region 1-A quarterfinal victory. Lowery had nine points in the game. The Lady Eagles play Cloudland in a Region 1-A semifinal on Monday night at 7:30 p.m.
Published: 12:54 PM, 02/23/2013 Last updated: 1:00 PM, 02/23/2013

Author: Seth Butler
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

When the Region 1-A semifinals start on Monday night, the Cosby Lady Eagles can not afford to have their heads in the clouds.

With a pair of TSSAA Class A Sectional game berths at stake on Monday night, all four teams that take the floor at Chuckey-Doak Middle School are all worthy of state rankings. However, two of them will see their season end on Monday night.

It's why the Lady Eagles must come ready to play the Cloudland Lady Highlanders (Monday, 7:30 p.m.), a 2012 state tournament team and last year's Region 1-A champion.

Lady Eagles coach Richard Coggins said his team must be ready to play from the opening tip, or risk losing their season coming to a premature end. For all the successes and accolades Cosby has brought home this season - it could all wind up steps short of their goals if they are unable to top the Lady Highlanders.

Unaka tested Cosby through two quarters, mainly after Coggins thought his team wasn't ready to play and endured a number of early and late mistakes in the contest.

"We've just got to come play on Monday night," Coggins said. "We did some things that were not smart basketball.

"We've got to play smarter and better Monday night, or we won't win," Coggins said.

For the Lady Eagles, Monday's game will be the stiffest test they've faced since playing Gatlinburg-Pittman and Pigeon Forge in late January.

Lady Eagles senior Tiffany Smelcer said that even though the team cruised through much of the three weeks of the season, that they have no trouble finding motivation against quality teams.

"I think the competition we play against - it makes us want to play harder," Smelcer said. "The more competition we have, the more we want to play."

Competition will certainly be not difficult to find for Cosby here on out. With North Greene or Hampton looming as Region 1-A championship game opponents should they advance past Cloudland - the Lady Eagles will be in for another fight.

With a stiff region tournament field, Coggins thinks the final four are all capable of making a run to performing well at the TSSAA Class A State Tournament, which begins in 12 days.

"You saw tonight with how Unaka played - I think if you win this region, you might be able to win the state," Coggins said. "I mean, I think there's four teams up here that's as good as anybody you'll see in the state.

"We beat Clarkrange this summer by six or eight points and they're ranked second or third," Coggins said.

But in order for their success to continue, the Lady Eagles can't be dreaming of the potential accolades ahead, or resting on the laurels of their previous successes.

"We had a few key players (Friday night) who weren't ready to play," Coggins said. "I think we've got to be more ready to play (on Monday).

"We can't come out and be deer in the headlights," Coggins said.

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