T-Birds bounce back with a huge win

CASPER, Wyo. — Playing a third game in three days didn’t seem to slow down the Cloud County Thunderbirds.
The T-Birds scored nine points in the first 1:41 of the game and never looked back on their way to a lopsided 103-43 victory over Raleigh’s Finest Sports Academy in the final round of the T-Bird Thanksgiving Classic on Saturday.
With a win over Lamar (Colo.) College on Thursday and a loss to host Casper College on Friday, Cloud County went 2-1 in the tournament and is now 7-2 on the season.
Casper defeated Lamar 79-65, and won all three of its games.
Lamar was 1-2, and Raleigh’s Finest, a prep school out of Oklahoma City, was 0-3.
“I thought we played with pretty good energy on that third day,’” Cloud County coach Chad Eshbaugh said, “It was a good experience for us. If you are going to win games in March you are going to have to play multiple games in a row.”
Cloud County never gave Raleigh’s Finest much of a chance.
Marcus Fillyaw scored just 18 seconds into the game. That was followed up by a Connor McDaniel three, a bucket by Ed Dyson and two free throws by Rodrick Robinson to give the T-Birds a 9-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
Raleigh’s Finest would go 4:25 without scoring as Cloud County went up 12-0.
The Roadrunners missed their first nine shots of the game before Jalen Scayles scored with 15:35 to play in the first half.
Cloud County answered with four straight points by Dyson and baskets by James Williams and McDaniel to push its lead to 20-2.
Dhonte Ford hit a three for Raleigh’s Finest, but the T-Birds scored the next 12 points, and led 32-5.
“We got up big early. They had played a close game the night before against Lamar. It was one of those things where it just kind of snowballed on them,” Eshbaugh, “To our guys’ credit we defended well and made shots difficult for them, and shared the ball well.”
Cloud County continued to pull away from the Roadrunners.
It was a 43-9 game when a three-point basket by James Williams and a three-point play by Marcus Smith started a 14-0 run that made it 57-9.
Raleigh’s Finest would outscore the T-Birds 5-4 over the final 2:18 of the first half, but still trailed 61-14 at halftime.
The Roadrunners scored nearly as many points, 12,  in the first five minutes of the second as they did the entire first half but still trailed 67-24.
Cloud County then went on a 15-4 spurt to make it an 82-28 game.
Getting everybody into the act, the T-Birds coasted to the big win.
“I thought we had a great team effort. Everybody played, and everybody played well,” Eshbaugh said, “It was good to see those guys who don’t get a lot of time get quality minutes, and they did a good job with them.”
Cloud County had 13 players score in the game, led by Dyson with 17 points.
McDaniel scored 14 points and pulled down nine rebounds.
Williams also tossed in 14 points and grabbed six rebounds.
Alioune Mboup added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Smith had 11 rebounds to go with nine points.
Fillyaw handed out 10 assists.
Delondre Williams scored 14 points for Raleigh’s Finest.
Cloud County will play two games in Council Bluffs, Iowa, this weekend.
The T-Birds take on Iowa Western on Friday and Northeast (Neb.) Community College on Saturday.

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