From Staff Reports
Different day. Different result.
Seven days after a loss to Tennessee High, the Unicoi County High School girls basketball team (3-2) avenged that defeat.
During the first matchup between the two teams, which was played on Tennessee High’s home floor on Nov. 18, the Lady Devil offense struggled against the Lady Viking’s zone defense. Several days of practice to work on zone offense proved beneficial as the Lady Devils were more active and more successful against the zone the second time around.
Playing in the Happy Valley Thanksgiving Classic on Saturday, Nov. 25, the shorthanded Lady Devils erased a second half deficit to earn a hardfought 56-51 victory over Tennessee High. The weekend tournament saw both Kenedy King and Caroline Podvin leave games with injuries.
“We went from depth to a slim rotation in a weekend,” Lady Devil head coach Kerri King said.
Foul trouble for post Halie Padgett also limited the squad against Tennessee High, but players off the bench came in and contributed.
“Rachel (Lynch) stepped in and gave us composure and poise with Halie in foul trouble,” King said. “Allee Griffith gave us huge minutes and Ashtan (Vance) dialed up the intensity.”
The Lady Devils held a 14-11 lead after the first quarter thanks to 6 points from Kaylee Hendrickson and 5 from Chloe Powers. They expanded their lead to 5, 27-22, at halftime on baskets by Kaitlin Bailey, Kaylia Street and Hendrickson.
However, it was Tennessee High who came out of the locker room the best in the third quarter. The Lady Vikings outscored UCHS 16-9 to take a 38-36 lead into the fourth quarter.
King’s Lady Devils scrapped back in the final eight minutes. Padgett scored 6 of her 9 points in the frame, while powers scored 6 and Hendrickson hit a big three-pointer. The Lady Devils found themselves up 54-51 with seconds to play and Bailey was fouled and sent to the free throw line. The sophomore hit both free throws to put the game out of reach for Tennessee High.
“Kaitlin knocked down free throws to seal it,” King said. “I thought Ashtan and Kaitlin executed better than they have all season. But Kaylee and Chloe just refused to lose. They had an answer every time Tennessee High tried to go on a run.”
Powers led the Lady Devil offense with 17 points. She also had 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Hendrickson scored 14 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Padgett scored 9 and had 5 rebounds. Bailey scored 7 and had 4 rebounds and 2 steals. Vance scored 4. Street scored 3. Griffith scored 2 and had 5 rebounds.
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The Lady Devils opened the Happy Valley Thanksgiving Classic by trouncing University High, 75-16, on Friday, Nov. 24.
There was little doubt who would win this contest when the Lady Devils took a 26-4 lead after the first quarter. UCHS held a 39-13 lead at halftime, then held University High to just 3 points in the second half to get the win.
Every Lady Devil scored in the game. Powers led the team with 14 points. Padgett scored 13 and had 5 rebounds. Griffith and Bailey scored 8 points each, while having 6 and 5 rebounds, respectively. Hendrickson scored 7 and had 7 assists. Kayla Street and Podvin each scored 6 points. King had 5 points and 4 steals. Lynch and Vance scored 4 points each.
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The Lady Devils will open Three Rivers Conference play on Friday, Dec. 1, when they host the Happy Valley Lady Warriors at UCHS. The varsity game is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. There will not be a girls junior varsity game on Friday.
The team will travel to Sullivan South for another conference game on Tuesday, Dec. 5. The varsity game is also scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. on that day. There will not be a junior varsity game at South.