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Lady Devils bounce back with win over Cloudland

It was a quick turnaround by head coach Kerri King’s Lady Blue Devils.
The Unicoi County High School Lady Devil basketball team(3-8, 1-2) bounced back from a close loss at Sullivan East on Tuesday, Dec. 9, to score a 42-33 win against Cloudland on Thursday, Dec. 11.
“I thought the pace of the game got us tired,” King said, “and it affected Cloudland as well. I thought our girls were able to gut out it. I thought we played well against East, but we just came up a bit short.
“I knew from our practices and conversations after the East game that the girls were buying into the fact we were moving forward and they weren’t keeping their heads down.”
Hannah Rice cut loose against Cloudland, especially in the second half with nine points, to finish with a game-high 17 points.
“I thought so,” King said about Rice taking over in the second. “She saw she could match up against their defense and execute dribble penetration to get some buckets.”
It was an important win by the team, according to Rice.
“We knew we had to stop them from scoring,” she said. “I knew I had to come through in the second half to help the team. I wish we could have gotten the win against East, but tonight’s win really boosted our confidence.”
Another added element was the presence of senior post Destinie Hayes, who finished with 22 rebounds, eight points and five assists against Cloudland.
“Coach King has told me my rebound has helped,” Hayes said, “but that I had to finish inside and have a little more confident shooting.”
While transforming into an offensive threat, Hayes also spearheaded a defensive effort that limited Cloudland’s Kendall Mull to just five points in the second half.
“We didn’t want to let up,” she said. “We played with confidence.”
Chelsey Harness added eight points. Haley Webb scored five and Emily Lynch scored four
Mull led the Lady ‘Landers with 13 points.
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On Dec. 9, the Lady Devils hit 10 three-pointers, including back-to-back shots from Morgan Lee Brown and Rice in the fourth quarter that nearly completed a late-game rally; however, the Lady Patriots held on for the 74-64 win in Bluff City.
Eighteen turnovers proved to be the nail-in-the-coffin for any chance of an upset bid for UCHS.
During the contest, Hayes led 15 points and was complimented by Rice’s 13.
Brandy Watkins led the Lady Patriots with 20 points.
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Webb drilled eight three-pointers on Saturday, Dec. 13, but Hampton would go 11-14 from the charity stripe in overtime to score a 58-54 win on the road in Erwin.
Hampton didn’t take a last shot opportunity with four seconds remaining to send the contest in extra play.
Rice joined Webb in double figures with 14 points. Harness had six points and was joined by Lynch with a pair of three-pointers. Halie Padgett and Hayes each also had a bucket. Webb and Rice accounted for all the Lady Devil scoring in the first half.
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The ladies will a bye week this week before entering back into the busy hoops schedule next week when they participate in the annual Johnson City Honda Invitational held at Daniel Boone High School.