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Jr. Lady Devils survive pool play

The lady hoopsters of Unicoi County Middle School are ready for the new year after a solid conclusion to the month of December.
The Jr. Lady Devils varsity squad wrapped up the 2015 portion of the season with a 37-30 loss in the first round of the Trailblazer Invitational on Wednesday, Dec. 16, in a tightly-contested affair against Ridgeview at Daniel Boone High School. The Jr. Lady Blue Devils qualified for tournament play after earning the seventh seed during the pool play portion of the event.
Ridgeview opened the first period by taking an 11-9 advantage. During this frame, Lady Devil Caroline Podvin made some noise from her guard spot with four points.
UCMS roared back in the second period, outscoring Ridgeview 9-8, to trim the deficit to one point at halftime, 19-18. Ridgeview’s Jaiden Clark dropped five points in the frame, but UCMS used a steady dosage of Podvin, Kaitlin Bailey, Kaylia Street and Lindsey King to deter any rallies.
Ridgeview cranked up the defense in the second half, limiting UCMS to just 12 points, while capitalizing down low to pull away with the victory.
Bailey led UCMS with a team-high 10 points. Ashtan Vance scored seven points, four of which came in the fourth quarter. Podvin added six, while King added three. Street tacked on a bucket with Nickolette Ferguson, who led the team with seven rebounds.
Jaycie Jenkins and Clark led Ridgeview with 12 points each.
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UCMS posted back-to-back victories in the Middle Eight Conference the week before the tournament at Daniel Boone.
The varsity squad started off the week on Dec. 8, by taking a 41-29 victory at home against the Greeneville Lady Green Devils.
“The girls played hard from start to finish,” head coach Lauren Trivette said.
Bailey went the distance for the varsity crew with a team-high 14 points, while Podvin cashed in 10 points. Ferguson and Vance tacked on seven and six points, respectively, in the victory.
A trip to Kingsport awaited UCMS on Dec. 10, as the team downed John Sevier, 34-28.
“This was a huge game for us,” Trivette said. “They beat us by two last time we played them, so we knew we had to come out with intensity and play hard. We fought from start to finish.”
Ferguson proved to be a dominant force down low, dropping 14 points. Podvin and Vance added five points each.
“We pulled away big the first half,” Trivette said. “Then Sevier got a little run and tied it up in the third. The girls fought through and never gave up.”