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Lady Devils fall to Elizabethton

For a quarter, the Lady Devils made the Class AA No. 1 ranked team in the state sweat.
The Unicoi County High School girls’ basketball team shot the lights out in the first quarter, but were ultimately unable to handle Elizabethton’s pressure defense as the Lady Cyclones earned a 79-45 Three Rivers Conference victory on Tuesday, Jan. 12, in Erwin.
The Lady Devils (7-13, TRC 3-2) were in for a mountain of a challenge against the Lady Cyclones, who extended their undefeated streak to 18 games with the win last week in Erwin.
UCHS was able to hang with Elizabethton thanks to 3-pointers from Hannah Rice and Ashley Edwards and buckets from Chloe Powers and Neelee Griffith. With three minutes to go in the first period, the teams were tied at 10. The Lady Cyclones then scored five consecutive points to take a 15-10 lead to the second period.
Elizabethton saw three players hit double-digit scoring, but Emily Kiser (17 points) did the brunt of her damage in the second quarter, helping the team carry a 41-27 lead into halftime.
Rice, who had one of her best games of the season for UCHS during the contest, led her team with 16 points and helped her team to chip away at the lead in the second quarter and stay within striking distance.
The underclassmen-heavy Lady Devils presented problems for Elizabethton, but the Carter County ladies were able to respond in the second half to pull away with the lopsided triumph.
“I thought the first half was the worst basketball performance we’ve had in three years,” Lady Cyclone head coach Len Dugger said. “The second half was a little better, but we were not out there mentally or focused. It doesn’t matter who our kids play. You play it the right way, you give the right kind of effort … you’ve been coached the right way to do it. If we keep giving that kind of effort each night, it’s gonna come back and get us.”
Kayla Marosites, an ETSU signee along with sister, Kelci, led the contest with a game-high 26 points for Elizabethton, including going perfect from the charity stripe (17-17). Kelci tacked on a double-digit scoring effort with 14 points on the night.
UCHS sophomore Halie Padgett caused problems down low for Lady Cyclone post Emily Schubert, Dugger added. The Lady Devil finished the night just shy of a double-double with 10 points and nine boards.
Griffith tallied in a solid first half performance with eight points to go along with a feisty effort from Powers, who capped off the night with five points, six rebounds and four steals.
Edwards and Kaylee Hendrickson rounded out the scoring for UCHS with three points each.
The game was the only contest on the docket for the Lady Devils last week.
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The Lady Devils opened up a two-game conference road stint this week, traveling to face the Happy Valley Lady Warriors on Tuesday, Jan. 19, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline.
In games rescheduled from Jan. 28, the Lady Devil junior varsity and varsity will face Sullivan Central at UCHS on Thursday, Jan. 21. The junior varsity game is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m., with the varsity game to follow. The UCHS Blue Devil freshmen team will face Sullivan South at 7 p.m.
UCHS ends the week with a trip to Sullivan County to square off against Sullivan South. Girls junior varsity tips off in Colonial Heights at 3:30 p.m. with varsity scheduled to follow at 6:30 p.m.