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Lady Devils defeat Sullivan East

Morgan Lee Brown hit six of her seven attempts from behind the three-point line and Chelsey Harness led Unicoi County with a double-double to lead their team to a 64-56 triumph over Sullivan East on Friday, Jan. 23, in Erwin.
The win, which is the tenth out of the last 13 games, moves the Lady Blue Devils’ record to 12-10 overall and 6-3 in the Three Rivers Conference. Head coach Allen Aubrey and his Lady Patriot squad fell to 17-10 overall and 7-3 in the conference.
Friday’s victory also aided the current push toward the District 1-AA tournament in February. If the Lady Blue Devils are able to win out, a third-place seed will await the team, with the potential of second if Happy Valley is able to defeat Sullivan East on Friday, Jan. 30.
In a pressure situation, it was all about staying calm, UCHS head coach Kerri King said.
“We didn’t need to think about anything other than the fact that it is another team and we have to play hard,” she said. “Just to keep rolling and keep focused on playing our stuff when we’re on the floor.”
Harness (16 points, 13 rebounds) had the hot hand early in the contest, drilling eight points in the first quarter to help her squad nab an early 18-10 lead.
The Lady Patriots countered in the second quarter with 20 points, but Brown would take control from the right corner, going 4-for-4 from behind the arc to help her team keep a 34-30 lead at intermission.
The ending for the previous meeting between the ball clubs, Sullivan East’s 74-64 win on Dec. 9, stuck in the Lady Devils’ minds, Brown said.
“I think we should have had them the last time,” she added. “Ever since we came back from Christmas, we’ve just been playing so much better and felt great on the court.”
Sullivan East was limited to eight points in the third quarter, with senior Hannah Rice wrecking havoc with four steals in the frame. Rice was complemented by the underclassmen, including Ashlie Padgett, Neelee Griffith and Halie Padgett.
Brown, a senior with the squad, had nothing but praise for all of her underclassmen teammates during the recent streak of success.
“They’ve all done amazing,” she said. “I’m so proud of them and we wouldn’t be the same without them playing as well as they are.”
After a 20-point performance the previous meeting, UCHS limited junior Lady Patriot Brandy Watkins to 15 points. Caitlin Stewart also added 10 points.
“Ever since Christmas we got with a little different of a rotation and stay with whoever’s playing hard and get into a little flow,” King said. “Anytime you can limit the offensive punch of Brandy, you’ve done a good job. I thought we did a good job on her early with our man-defense and that maybe led to some of her fouls late.”
Watkins fouled out in the fourth quarter, while the Lady Blue Devils erupted for 18 points in the frame to secure the win.
Halie Padgett hauled in eight boards, all in the second half joining senior Destinie Hayes’ 10 boards to control the paint for the team.
Haley Webb, Griffith and Rice combined for a passer-friendly night of 11 assists together. Emily Lynch also added a pair of boards and steals in the win.
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Halie Padgett went for over 20 points and was joined in double figures by sister, Ashlie, in the Lady Blue Devils’ victory over Sullivan East in junior varsity action on Friday. Ashley Edwards tossed in eight in the triumph.
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The league-leading Lady Cyclones awaited the Lady Devils in Elizabethton after The Erwin Record’s press deadline on Tuesday, Jan. 27.
UCHS ends the week on Friday, Jan. 30, at home against Sullivan South. Next week, UCHS opens with Johnson County at home on Tuesday, Feb. 3.
Tip-off for junior varsity games is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. while varsity action is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.