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Lady Devils defeat Three Rivers Conference foes

When push came to shove, the Unicoi County High School girls’ basketball team wouldn’t budge on defense during the first half.
The Lady Blue Devils limited Sullivan North to two points in the first quarter and dropped 42 first half points en route to a 50-26 Three Rivers Conference victory in Erwin on Friday, Jan. 8.
UCHS (7-12, TRC 2-1) had nine ladies reach the scoring column, but the defense stole the show as it broke loose in the first quarter, with Lady Raiders’ lone points coming from the charity stripe.
UCHS took the 17-2 lead into the second. Sullivan North hit their first field goal at the 6:14 mark of the quarter when Shenoah Bradley recovered a loose ball and went down court for a layup.
UCHS countered the run, outscoring Sullivan North, 25-8, heading into halftime led by three of the team’s five total 3-pointers coming from the hands of Chloe Powers, Ashley Edwards and Kenedy King.
“I thought we did well defensively in the first half,” King said. “We ran a lot of sets in the first half and they executed those well. We were playing free and our defensive stops turned into offensive scores and that worked well for us.”
Sophomore Lady Devil Halie Padgett (13 points, eight rebounds) helped keep the momentum going early in the second half, helping UCHS take a 49-13 lead into the fourth.
Halie Padgett has nearly averaged a double-double the entire season for UCHS and since the start of the new year the aggressive attitude down low has continued for her team.
“I knew I had to go into them aggressive,” Halie said. “Not be weak, fade away and just go into them to score.”
The Lady Raiders didn’t quit in the fourth. UCHS eased up on the gas and Sullivan North was able to outscore the Lady Devils 10-1 to end the game.
“We had one field goal and some free throws there in the second half,” King said. “It still comes down to stringing it all together the entire game. We had a pretty big lead at the point, so we lost focus. That’s what young, inexperienced teams do, but there are other teams that are young and would play with more maturity than that, so that’s something we still need to work on.”
Neelee Griffith added an explosive presence on offense in the first half for UCHS and ended the game with eight points, while senior Hannah Rice added seven points. King and Powers finished with six points each.
Ashlie Padgett (four points), Edwards (three points), Kaylee Hendrickson (two points) and Rachel Lynch (one point) rounded out the scoring in the win. Edwards also added 10 rebounds for the Lady Devils.
Bradley led the Lady Raiders with eight points and was followed behind by Abby Robinson’s seven.
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Rice and Edwards posted 16-point performances to help their team earn a 69-56 win over Johnson County on Tuesday, Jan. 5, to begin the new year 2-0 in conference action.
Halie Padgett was a force for UCHS earning a double-double with 18 rebounds and 11 points. The big start to the new year has been key for the team, she said.
The Lady Devils had 10 players score in the win. The Lady Longhorns were led by a game-high 17 points from Michaela Cretsinger.
• • •
The junior varsity Lady Devils earned a blowout win to open Friday’s slate of games in Erwin. UCHS posted double digit scoring in each quarter to beat Sullivan North 57-24.
Hendrickson and Powers posted 11 points each and Lynch added 10 to lead the team. Taylor Thomas dropped six points and King, Allee Griffith and Jenna Wilcox tacked on six points. Kaitlyn Tilson and Caitlyn Clouse rounded out the scoring with two points each.
The junior varsity went down to the wire with the Lady Longhorns on Tuesday, but fell in a one-point nail biter, 65-64.
Hendrickson led the contest with a game-high 25 points and was joined in double figures by Powers (15 points) and Allee Griffith (11 points).
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The Lady Devils have only one game on the agenda this week, hosting Elizabethton on Tuesday, Jan. 12, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline.
“We’ve got a big test coming in against Elizabethton,” King said on Friday. “We’re just going to take that game in increments and not back down.”
A recap of UCHS and Elizabethton will appear in the Jan. 20 issue of The Erwin Record.
UCHS opens next week with two road games against Happy Valley on Tuesday, Jan. 19, and at Sullivan South on Friday, Jan. 22. JV action is set for 3:30 p.m. each night with varsity to follow at 6:30 p.m.