From Staff Reports
The Unicoi County High School girls basketball team (6-3, 1-1) weathered a second half comeback by Hampton to earn a victory in Erwin on Monday, Dec. 11.
“It was a good win by our team,” head coach Kerri King said. “I am very proud of how they played in the first half and how they responded to the run Hampton made in the second half.”
The Lady Devils got off to a great start to Monday’s game, scoring 18 points in the first quarter. Chloe Powers hit 2 three-pointer, Halie Padget and Kaitlin Bailey each scored 5 points and Kaylee Hendrickson added 2 in the quarter.
“Our defensive intensity was very good in the first half,” King said. “We were also active offensively and rebounded well.”
UCHS continued to stay in control of the game in the second quarter, outscoring the Lady Bulldogs 13-5 to take a 31-13 lead into halftime. Padgett scored 6, Hendrickson scored 5 and Kaylia Street scored 2 in the quarter.
With a chance to put the game away for good in the third quarter, the Lady Devils found themselves in the midst of a run by the Lady Bulldogs. UCHS went scoreless in the first 5 minutes of the quarter and finally got on the scoreboard on a free throw by Kenedy King. Hampton in the meantime got on a roll offensively and cut the lead to 4 points, 32-28.
The Lady Devils began to slow Hampton’s run in the final minutes of the third quarter and took a 38-32 lead into the final quarter.
In the fourth, the Lady Devils’ defense returned to its earlier form and their offense settled down as they retook control of the game. Padgett scored 8 of her game-high 23 points, Bailey scored 4, King scored 3 and Hendrickson added 2 in the final quarter. UCHS won the non-conference game 55-43.
“Our girls kept fighting in the fourth quarter and refused to lose the game,” King said. “It’s a positive sign for us to weather a run and bounce back to get a win.”
In addition to her 23 points, Padgett had 10 rebounds for a double-double. Hendrickson scored 9 and had 7 assists. Bailey scored 9 and had 6 rebounds. Powers scored 6 and had 5 rebounds. King scored 6 and had 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Street scored 2.
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The Lady Devils suffered a disappointing Three Rivers Conference loss at the hands of the Sullivan South Lady Rebels on Tuesday, Dec. 5.
“Our lack of intensity on defense allowed them to move freely and they took advantage,” King said of the loss.
UCHS took a 5-0 lead in the first quarter on a basket by Padgett and a three-pointer by Powers. The Lady Rebels then went on a 18-6 run to take an 18-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
South’s lead reached double figures halfway through the second quarter after a basket by guard Mollie Leslie put them up 24-13. Ashtan Vance answered with a three-pointer for UCHS, but South scored 4 unanswered points and took a 28-16 lead with 3 minutes to play in the half.
King called a timeout to refocus her team and the Lady Devils responded. Out of the timeout Street hit a three-pointer, then Vance nailed a jumper, cutting the lead to single digits, 28-21.
The Lady Devils’ run continued with a basket by Powers and one by Padgett at the buzzer. Despite their poor play, the Lady Devils only trailed 29-25 at halftime.
King hit a free throw to open the third quarter, cutting the lead to 3 points, 29-26. But, unfortunately for the Lady Devils, South went on another run, scoring 8 unanswered points for a 37-26 lead with around 3 minutes to play in the quarter. Powers then hit a three-pointer and Padgett scored before Leslie nailed two free throws. South took a 39-31 lead into the final frame.
Another free throw by King and a bucket by Padgett cut the lead to 5 points, 39-34 in the fourth. A three-pointer by South’s Alex Harris and free throws by Nicole Troutman then gave South a 44-34 advantage with less than 3 minutes to play. A basket by Bailey then cut the lead to single digits, 44-36.
The Lady Devils’ full-court pressure then began to take a toll on the Lady Rebels. Following a turnover forced by UCHS, King hit a three-pointer for a 44-39 score. South then missed a shot and Padgett was fouled on the Lady Devils’ next possession. The post hit both free throws and the Lady Devils trailed 44-41. On South’s ensuing possession, Vance tipped the ball and Hendrickson came away with a steal; however, the Lady Devils couldn’t take advantage and had to foul. The Lady Rebels hit two free throws, but UCHS responded on a layup by Bailey for a 46-43 score.
South then took an unadvised shot, but the Lady Devils couldn’t come up with the rebound and were forced to foul the Lady Rebels again. Leslie then missed the front end of a one-and-one, but again UCHS didn’t come up with a vital rebound. Leslie was then fouled again and made both free throws for a 48-43 lead. Padgett hit a basket at the buzzer for a 48-45 final score.
“We were able to get stops late in the game, but we weren’t able to take advantage on the offensive end,” King said.
Padgett scored 20 points and had 8 rebounds in the loss. Powers had 8 points and 3 rebounds. Vance (3 rebounds) and King (4 rebounds) each scored 5. Bailey scored 4 and had 8 rebounds. Street scored 3.
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The Lady Devils traveled to Science Hill to face the Hilltoppers on Tuesday, Dec. 12, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline.
They are scheduled to face Johnson County in Mountain City in Three Rivers Conference action on Friday, Dec. 15, and travel to Cloudland for a non-conference matchup on Tuesday, Dec. 19. The junior varsity team is scheduled to play at 3 p.m., with the varsity taking to the court at 6:30 p.m. on those days.