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Devils hold off Warriors

Unicoi County High School guards Trevor Hensley and Dylan Putman scored in double figures as their team earned a fourth straight Three Rivers Conference win with a 55-45 victory over Happy Valley on Tuesday, Jan. 19, at Warrior Hill in Elizabethton.
The Blue Devils (12-8, TRC 5-1) remained in second place with the triumph, while the Warriors (12-8) saw their league record drop to 1-5 on the season.
Head coach Michael Smith saw his Blue Devils start the game with a 7-2 run in the first five minutes. Happy Valley responded with four points, including two buckets from Nathan Kyte (15 points), to stay within striking distance, 9-6, heading to the second quarter.
With a boost of confidence filling the home squad, the Warriors pulled within a point with six minutes left in the first half, 11-10, but a steal and fast break bucket by Dalton Spears had the Blue Devils back ahead by three points and started a run during which UCHS outscored Happy Valley 11-7. The Blue Devils held a 24-17 lead at halftime.
UCHS used another 15-point quarter to open the second half, including a 3-pointer from sophomore Clay Simpson and a three-point play from Hensley to extend the lead to 10 points in the first two minutes of the third.
The Blue Devils extended the lead out as far as 14 points, but the Warriors slowly kept stalking around in the fourth, ultimately outscoring the team, 18-16, to end the game; however, UCHS was able to hold on for the 55-45 victory.
Hensley filled the stat line by adding three assists to go along with four rebounds and four steals. Putman helped his teammate distribute the ball with three assists to go along with his five rebounds.
Simpson helped his squad clean up down low, leading the crew with a team-high nine boards on the night. Jacob Smith (two points) added six rebounds.
Hunter Hensley added seven points for UCHS while Spears added six.
Junior Chase McNabb tacked on three points in the varsity game for the Blue Devils, following up a 27-point performance in the junior varsity game earlier that night.
Josh Hammonds joined Kyte in double-figure scoring with 12 points for Happy Valley. Austin Hicks tallied in nine in the paint for the Warriors.
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Prior to The Erwin Record’s press deadline, the TRC standings were: 1. Sullivan East; 2. Unicoi County; 3. Elizabethton; 4. Johnson County; 5. Sullivan South; 6. Happy Valley; and 7. Sullivan North.
UCHS looked to carry over the momentum from their league winning-streak as they hosted Sullivan East on Tuesday, Jan. 26, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline. Both teams met in Bluff City back in December with the Patriots taking a 68-50 victory.
The Blue Devils will continue action this week in Colonial Heights on Thursday, Jan. 28, against Sullivan South. The contest is a makeup from last week’s game that was postponed due to weather.
UCHS ends the week with a home game against Johnson County on Friday, Jan. 29. Both nights feature junior varsity games at 5 p.m. with varsity to follow up at 8 p.m.
UCHS was scheduled to see their freshman basketball team travel to Sullivan East on Monday, Jan. 25, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline. The Blue Devils are set to make the trip to Mountain City to face off against the Longhorns on Thursday, Jan. 28, with tipoff slated to 7 p.m.