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English: Blue Devils must 'bounce back'

The Elizabethton Cyclones used double-digit scoring from Bo Pless and Tyler Nichols to score a 63-41 victory over the Unicoi County High School Blue Devils on Saturday, Jan. 17, in Erwin.
The loss moved the Blue Devils to 12-11 overall and 6-2 in the Three Rivers Conference. The victory allowed Elizabethton to keep pace with Sullivan South for the top spot in the conference.
“We just stood around while they continued to hit us,” UCHS head coach John English said about the loss. “You can’t do that against a good team. In a game with first place on the line, you want to see more spunk. When you’re 22 games into the season, it is surprising to come out like that but hopefully we’ll learn from it.
“This whole season has been about ups and downs for us so we just got to put it behind us, but we can’t have many more performances like that.”
Pless led the game with a game-high 15 points while Nichols dropped 14.
The Blue Devils were led by Dylan Putman’s 10 points.
“Whoever wins this league, regular season and district, would have earned it,” English said. “You can’t step back for a second. Sullivan North is pushing people, Happy Valley is pushing people and they were picked to finish last in our league.
“Then you get the teams like Elizabethton, (Sullivan) South, (Sullivan) East, Johnson County – you got to be ready to play. It is something that we have to look in the mirror, all of us, pick up the pieces and try to bounce back from it.”
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The Blue Devils made 11 shots from behind the arc and were led by Trevor Hensley (18 points) and Putman (11 points) to score a 69-45 win over Happy Valley on Friday, Jan. 16, in Carter County.
UCHS used a steady attack to take a 15-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Blue Devils then unleashed seven three-pointers in the second quarter to outscore the Warriors 32-11 and head into halftime with a 47-18 lead.
Davis Webb tallied in a trio of three-pointers in the win to finish with nine points.
“The ball was moving well,” Webb said. “When you get that going, the shots will fall.”
Jacob Smith finished with seven points and combined with Webb to haul in 15 boards for UCHS.
Merrick Nicksic, Will Shelton and Dalton Spears all added six points each.
Austin Hendrickson tacked on four and Chase McNabb added a bucket to round off the scoring for the Blue Devils.
Tyler Torbett led Happy Valley with 10 points.
Freshman Clay Simpson missed the contest after falling hard on his head during the junior varsity contest earlier in the night. Simpson was not diagnosed with a concussion and made his return to the court on Saturday against Elizabethton.
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UCHS used heroics from Hensley and Simpson to score a 57-51 win over Sullivan North in overtime on Tuesday, Jan. 13, in Erwin.
Hensley led the team with 18 points on the night. Simpson tallied in a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
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The Blue Devils look to regain momentum in the conference race with a home contest against Sullivan East on Friday, Jan. 23, in Erwin.
The boys junior varsity open action at 5 p.m. while the varsity holds the nightcap at 8 p.m.