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Defense lifts Lady Devils over Lady Warriors

Kaylee Hendrickson drives to the goal against Happy Valley. The point guard had 4 assists in the win. (Photo contributed by Teresa Parkey)

From Staff Reports

Defense was the name of the game when the Unicoi County High School Lady Devil basketball team (5-2, 1-0) faced a familiar Three Rivers Conference foe on Friday, Dec. 1, in Erwin.

Against the Lady Warriors of Happy Valley, head coach Kerri King’s team allowed only two field goals in the first half on their way to a 58-35 conference victory.

“Our defensive intensity was very good, especially in the first half,” King said.

UCHS held a 12-4 lead at the end of the first quarter. Halie Padgett scored 10 of those points. The senior post had 23 points in the game and did not miss a shot from the field to lead the Lady Devils.

The UCHS offense was also firing on all cylinders in the first half.

“We were able to get out and run the floor for some easy baskets,” King said. “I also felt like we were active offensively against their zone and moved the ball well, which led to a lot of our points.”

In the second quarter, five other ladies – Kenedy King, Kaitlin Bailey, Rachel Lynch, Ashtan Vance and Allie Griffith – got on the scoreboard, as the team’s lead reached double figures. UCHS held a 26-11 lead at the break.

The third quarter was much of the same as the Lady Devils’ defense again held the Lady Warriors to single-digit scoring. Happy Valley scored 4 points, 7 points and 9 points, in the first three quarters of the game.

Also during the third quarter, the UCHS offense put the game away, scoring 18 points to take a 44-20 lead into the final eight minutes. Padgett scored 7 points in the quarter, while Bailey added 2. Guard Chloe Powers caught fire from beyond the arc, hitting three three-pointers.

The Lady Devils didn’t play as well in the fourth, allowing the Lady Warriors to score 15 points, but it was too little too late and UCHS won the first conference game of the season.

“Each conference game is important,” King said. “For the most part, we played with that mindset tonight.”

In addition to her 23 points, Padgett had 6 rebounds and 2 steals. Bailey and Powers both scored 9 points in the win. King had 5 points, 5 assists and 3 steals. Lynch and Griffith each scored 4 points. Vance scored 2 and Kaylee Hendrickson scored 2, while dishing out 4 assists.

The Lady Devils played their second conference game of the season on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at Sullivan South after The Erwin Record’s press deadline.

Their next game is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 11, at home against Hampton. They will travel to Science Hill to face the Lady Hilltoppers on Tuesday, Dec. 12, and to Mountain City to face the Lady Longhorns on Friday, Dec. 15. The junior varsity squad is scheduled to play at 3:30 p.m. each day, with the varsity taking to the court at 6:30 p.m.