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Jr. Lady Devils advance with victory

It was a swat party hosted by the Jr. Lady Devils and everyone was invited.
Unicoi County Middle School eighth-grader Kaitlin Bailey had seven swats for her defense and the ladies from Erwin came away with a 38-18 victory over Church Hill in the first round of the Middle 8 Conference tournament on Saturday, Jan. 16, in Kingsport.
UCMS, who carried a 10-4 conference record and third seed in the league to the contest, got things going in the first period, ending the frame with 3-pointers from Kaylia Street and Ashtan Vance to take a 10-5 lead.
Church Hill was able to disrupt the flow of the contest with their defense, but was unable to produce any sizeable offense to cut into the lead. UCMS capped off the final two minutes of the first half with a 7-0 run thanks to five points from Bailey and two free throws from Caroline Podvin. The Jr. Lady Devils took a 17-9 lead into halftime.
Things continued to snowball for the Lady Devils in the third frame as they outscored Church Hill 13-6. The team was able to control the tempo in the fourth to pull away with the victory.
Bailey led the offense for UCMS with 12 points and nine boards. Vance tallied in eight points and Podvin scored six.
Nickolette Ferguson added five points down low. Street had three. Lindsey King and Leah Edney had two points each.
The Lady Devils were set to square off against T.A. Dugger in the semifinals of the tournament on Tuesday, Jan. 19, after The Erwin Record’s print deadline. Both teams met during in-school games this season with the squads splitting the regular season series.
A win by the Lady Devils qualified them for the tournament championship game on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 5 p.m.
With a loss on Jan. 19, the ladies will not play again until the upcoming Area Tournament, the bracket of which has not been announced.
The team advanced to the Area Tournament with their win over Church Hill. An update will be featured on The Erwin Record Sports Facebook page.