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Lady Devils defeat Rebels, 'Horns

Blue Nation confidence crushed any chance of an upset by the Lady Longhorns.
The Unicoi County High School girls’ basketball team battled from a six-point advantage at the end of the first quarter to earn a 73-44 triumph over Johnson County on Friday, Jan. 29, in Erwin.
The Lady Blue Devils moved their Three Rivers Conference record to 5-4 with the win and bumped their overall record to 9-15.
Sophomore Lady Devil Halie Padgett controlled the paint with a game-high 25 points and 11 boards, while Ashley Edwards dropped 14 points, including four 3-pointers, from the perimeter.
UCHS had 11 girls reach the scorebook in an overall solid effort each frame of the game, something that has recently spurred the squad following their recent conference clash with the league-leading and undefeated Elizabethton Lady Cyclones.
“We got a little lead there,” head coach Kerri King said about the first half. “I thought we did a good job of staying focused and executed and played harder defensively.
“Some people think Elizabethton didn’t play well in that game, but I thought we turned a corner that night with the way we’ve been playing,” King continued. “We played well against Elizabethton and I thought we carried that over into the Happy Valley game … and we continued that into the Sullivan East game. Ever since the Elizabethton game, I thought the girls came on and have played all four quarters, especially the past two games.”
UCHS took their 18-12 lead into the second quarter and moved ahead by 14 points, 36-22, at the half.
The Lady Devils used different lineup formations throughout the night and King credited Neelee Griffith, along with Halie and Ashlie Padgett for meshing well in each group.
“Our rotations were different than normal,” King added. “I thought they did a good job staying in the spot they were playing at during their time on the court.”
Edwards proved to be a solid cog for the team in the first half and credited her teammates for their two-game win streak.
“We did a good job of communicating and staying as a cohesive unit,” Edwards said. “We’ve been working for two games straight to keep our starters in more and trying to get the freshmen to come in and be more comfortable.”
Senior Hannah Rice anchored the Lady Devils from the point guard spot and tossed in 7 points. Ashlie Padgett, Kaylee Hendrickson and Chloe Powers tossed in five points each for UCHS.
Kenedy King added three points. Allee Griffith, Rachel Lynch and Kaitlyn Tilson added two points each.
Kesli Terrell led the Lady Longhorns with 24 points.
• • •
The Lady Devils used a hot-shot performance from Edwards to pull away from the Sullivan South Lady Rebels, 53-28, on Thursday, Jan. 28, in a contest rescheduled from the previous week due to inclement weather.
After a limited offensive first half saw UCHS hold a 16-9 lead halftime, the Lady Devils exploded in the third period with a 22-point performance that solidified the team’s return to the win column.
Edwards led the scoring effort with 15 points, including three three-pointers. Rice dropped 12 points in the victory.
Griffith (eight points), Halie Padgett (seven points), Powers (five points), Ashlie Padgett (three points) and Hendrickson (three points) rounded out the point total for the Lady Devils in the victory.
Malayna Johnson led the Lady Rebels in the losing effort with six points on the night.
• • •
After battling to a 20-20 tie at halftime, the Lady Patriots upended an upset bid by UCHS with a 56-43 victory inside the confines of the Devils’ Den in Erwin.
The contest was the first game for both teams in the week following inclement weather that swept through the area due to Winter Storm Jonas.
Rice went the distance for the Lady Devils with a team-high 15 points and was followed close behind with an eight-point performance from King, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Kara Stafford, Megan Addison and Brandy Watkins went into double figures for Sullivan East with 17, 13 and 12 points, respectively.
• • •
The UCHS junior varsity pulled away with a 46-21 win over Johnson County on Friday.
Rachel Lynch led the way with 11 points, while Allee Griffith, Jenna Wilcox, Natalia Mendoza, Powers and Hendrickson all added six points in the victory.
Taylor Thomas also added five points in the win.
During Thursday’s contest, the Lady Devils fell on the road to Sullivan South 45-37 with Hendrickson and Powers leading the way with 11 and seven points, respectively.
The JV opened the night week with a 47-40 loss to Sullivan East. King led the way with 16 points and Lynch added seven points.
• • •
UCHS opened this week with a conference game at Sullivan North on Tuesday, Feb. 2, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline.
UCHS returned home to play Sullivan Central in a rescheduled contest on Wednesday, Feb. 3, with games beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The Lady Devils end the week with a trip to Elizabethton to face off against the Lady Cyclones on Friday, Feb. 5. The JV will open play Friday at 3:30 p.m. while the girls’ varsity will follow at 6:30 p.m.