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Blue Devils win four straight

An early deficit and a wild third quarter weren’t enough to deter the Unicoi County High School Blue Devil basketball from earning an important Three Rivers Conference victory.
The Blue Devils (8-10, 2-2) rode behind the hot hand of junior guard Austin Green and his season high 24-point effort to a 74-61 win over the Sullivan North Golden Raiders on Friday night in Erwin. The win moved the Blue Devils' win streak to four games.
“We just had to come in and make them play our kind of ball,” Green said. ” We've got a tough conference schedule ahead, but it's a big motivator with this win. Everyone is stepping up and it's been a team effort.”
It was a different defensive game plan against the Golden Raiders, but overall it was executed the way it needed to be, according to UCHS head coach Michael Smith.
“I thought we executed the game plan very well,” he added. “We forced Chase (Arnold) to take tough shots and we wanted to make them beat us with their other players. We did give up some easy buckets here and there, by doing some different things on defense, but I thought the effort was great.”
It was at this time last year that the Blue Devils were at 2-2 in the conference standing after dropping a contest against Sullivan North in Kingsport, but the Blue Devils were still able to capture the conference crown at the end of the season, which is what the team still has its sights set on for the 2012-2013 season.
“The players are starting to get used to playing with one another and are putting full trust and confidence in each other,” Smith said. “It all starts with the hard work they're putting in at practice.”
North broke open the game after both teams went scoreless for the first two minutes thanks to back-to-back baskets from Kiree Thompson and a basket from Arnold for a 6-0 Golden Raider lead.
The Blue Devils then went on a run of their own, thanks to a pair of buckets from Connor Simpson in the paint. North led 12-10 at the end of the first quarter.
Ethan Rice and Simpson traded buckets with Corey Rowe, Thompson and Arnold. It appeared the lead would go back and forth between the teams during the second quarter, but a key 9-0 run, kick started by Keith Arrowood’s three-pointer and fueled by six points from Green. The Blue Devils went into halftime with a 35-29 lead.
The madness would begin in the second half.

For the remainder of this article please see the Jan 15, 2013 edition of The Erwin Record.