It was the performance of a lifetime by Happy Valley senior point guard Mackenzie Blankenship.
Unicoi County High School had three girls score in double figures, Blankenship (27 points) teed off for 21 points in the second half to give the Lady Warriors a 61-58 win during the quarterfinals of the District 1-AA girls basketball tournament held at Bayless Gymnasium in Carter County on Friday, Feb. 14.
The loss ended the Lady Devils season with a 12-16 record overall.
UCHS would make sure the game lived up the the main-event billing in the girls' quarterfinal Friday with a 20-13 advantage at the end of the first period, which was capped off by a quick 7-0 run from buckets from junior post Chelsey Harness and a buzzer-beating three-pointer by sophomore point guard Hannah Rice.
The see-saw battle continued with Happy Valley outscoring the Lady Devils 18-9 in the second quarter to head into halftime with the 31-29 advantage.
“First quarter them, second quarter us, third quarter them, then us in the fourth, we just traded back and forth,” Lady Warrior head coach Larry Abel Jr. said.
The teams traded buckets in the early going of the third period and continued towards the end when the Lady Warriors received a spark from Jamie Lea Clark. Clark drilled three of her five points from a shot behind the arc to cut the UCHS lead to two, 49-47, heading into the final quarter.
With the game coming down to the wire, freshman Lady Devil Neelee Griffith gave UCHS a 58-55 lead by knocking in two shots from the charity stripe with 48.4 seconds left in the contest.
After a missed shot from HVHS and a missed one-and-one from the Lady Devils, Lady Warrior Annie Woods passed an offensive board to Blankenship with 15.1 in the deep right corner for a game-tying three-pointer.
For the remainder of this article please see the February 19, 2014 edition of The Erwin Record.