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Ladies snap losing streak

Lady Blue Devil Halie Padgett returned to the court from a shoulder injury and Kaylee Hendrickson and Hannah Rice went into double figures to help the Unicoi County High School girls’ basketball team earn a 59-32 victory over Sullivan South to open Three Rivers Conference play on Friday, Dec. 4, in Erwin.
UCHS (3-5, TRC 1-0) snapped a five-game skid with the victory. With just two seniors and underclassmen finding their roles, the team reacted in a positive way Friday after the rough patch, according to head coach Kerri King.
“You’ve got two reactions to scheduling a brutal first part of the season,” King said. “Either you feel like it will help you grow up or it will beat you up so bad, you won’t recover from it. I never felt like that would happen to our girls; they’re very resilient. They always battled at points in the games we lost. We’re so young … we would string together a run and follow it with a plethora of turnovers.
“Everybody focuses their attention when conference play starts. We’ve struggled with (Sullivan South) notoriously for years, so I felt like our girls came out and battled and it worked out for them tonight.”
The Lady Rebels (0-4, 0-1) had just one field goal in the first half, coming in the first quarter, with UCHS assuming a 22-6 lead at halftime.
Rice (13 points) scored eight of her points in the first half. The hot-hand from Hendrickson netted 12 points in the third quarter to help UCHS outscore the Lady Rebels 20-8 in the frame.
“They were tough teams,” Hendrickson, who finished with a game-high 19-point performance, said about the skid. “Those games will help us out in the long run, but coming back and winning this game really boosts our confidence and approach for next week.”
Trailing 42-14 in the fourth, Sullivan South saw Madeline Leslie (14 points) hit a streak to help pace the Lady Rebel attack to outscore UCHS 18-17.
Even outscoring the Lady Blue Devils, King’s team kept the attack going.
Halie Padgett moved inside the paint periodically throughout the game and scored five of her eight total points in the fourth quarter.
Getting acclimated to the game-time experience was key for the underclassman, King said. Halie Padgett gave the Lady Devils a height advantage down low and drew fouls to go 4-5 at the charity stripe in the second half.
“It’s good just being back on the court and being out there doing everything with all the other girls,” Halie said. “I just wanted to get back out there.”
Ashley Edwards tacked on six points for UCHS, including a 3-pointer in the fourth. Kenedy King and Neelee Griffith added four points each.
Allee Griffith, Ashlie Padgett and Rachel Lynch combined for five points to round out the scoring for the Lady Blue Devils.
The Lady Blue Devil underclassmen opened their conference stretch on Friday and came up just shy in a 41-36 loss to Sullivan South.
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UCHS opened the week with a non-conference loss to Science Hill, 56-38, on Tuesday, Dec. 1, in Erwin.
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The Lady Blue Devils will play the role of road warriors this week, opening this week’s schedule with a trip to Cloudland, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline, on Tuesday, Dec. 8.
UCHS travels to Bluff City for league play against Sullivan East on Friday, Dec. 11, before capping off the week’s schedule in Carter County in non-conference action against Hampton on Saturday, Dec. 12.
Junior varsity starts each night at 3:30 p.m and the varsity follows up with their tip-off set for 6:30 p.m.