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Ladies take third in tourney, Hayes reaches milestone

Momentum stayed on the side of the Lady Blue Devils as they entered the new year.
The Unicoi County High School girls’ basketball team followed up a third-place finish in the Johnson City Honda Trailblazer Classic on Tuesday, Dec. 30, by opening up the new year with a 53-48 win against Madison County, N.C. on Friday, Jan. 2.
UCHS (7-9) handed the Lady Patriots their first loss of the season after winning 10 straight games, including an early 66-56 win over the Blue Nation earlier this season.
The Lady Blue Devils have hit a recent hot streak, winning four of their past five games since their 3-8 record after their 58-54 overtime loss to Hampton on Dec. 13.
Madison Co. (10-1) would make the head coach Kerri King and compnay work for their win with Baylea Loven wreaking havoc on the UCHS defense for a game-high 21 points.
It was all about consistency for the Lady Devils. Haley Webb led her team with 13 points but an increased role from bench players Halie Padgett, Ashlie Padgett, Neelee Griffith and Morgan Lee Brown added an extra element to the starting five.
It is an important element for the team, King said, watching her team place as many as eight in the scorebook during the recent tournament play at Daniel Boone.
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Destinie Hayes didn’t have to worry about a rebounding resolution for 2015.
UCHS defeated Cloudland, the defending 2013 Johnson City Honda Classic champs, 74-54, for third place last on Dec. 30 and the senior etched her name in the history books just a few minutes into the game.
Hayes’ eight points paid dividends, but it was her first of 10 rebounds on the night that gave her 1,000 career rebounds.
“I think in the history of Unicoi County High School girls basketball, Amy Engle may have been the only other player to do that,” King said of Hayes’ accomplishment. “That just shows (Destinie’s) commitment for a blue collar work for the team.”
Hayes credited her coaching staff for her play in the paint.
The rebounds came in droves, along with the point totals. Nine Lady Blue Devils reached the scoring column with Webb leading all scorers with 22 points, primarily coming from the three-point arc. Halie Padgett and Chelsey Harness each reached double figures with 15 and 11 points, respectively.
Hannah Rice, Ashlie Padgett, Ashley Edwards, Morgan Lee Brown and Emily Lynch all entered the fray to help their team score the rout.
“I thought we played well the entire tournament,” King said. “It was important for us to receive that depth off the bench and get consistent scoring for eight to nine girls instead of the five to six we normally receive. We’re going to carry over this momentum into the second half of the year and continue to build off it.”
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The Lady Blue Devils were back in action on Tuesday, Jan. 6, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline against Sullivan South to open back up Three Rivers Conference action.
UCHS will make the road trip on Friday, Jan. 9, to Johnson County to face the Lady Longhorns.
Tipoff for girls’ junior varsity action is 3:30 p.m. and the varsity is scheduled to play at 6:30 p.m.
Updates on each contest will be featured online at The Erwin Record Sports Facebook page.