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Lady Devils improve record to 13-4 overall

The Lady Devils won two of their three games last week to go to 13-4 overall.
The Lady Devils lost 52-36 on Friday, Jan. 15, at Elizabethton that gave the Lady Cyclones sole possession of first place in the Three Rivers Conference. Unicoi County is in second place with a 2-1 conference record.
“They were a bit more aggressive,” said Emmie Thompson, who paced Unicoi County with 12 points. “We stayed with them in stretches.”
Indeed, they did as Unicoi County came out very aggressive-leading 9-2 after a pair of free-throw conversions by Thompson midway in the first quarter. Elizabethton’s combativeness began to stir as they closed the gap to one after two free-throw conversions by Kamra Fritz. But, two free-throws by Emily Edwards (five points) and a basket by Andrea Engle gave Unicoi County a 13-8 lead as the second quarter began.
But, Edwards was called for three personal fouls in the first half and, along with Elizabethton’s team speed beginning to come to the fore, Unicoi County would soon be in trouble. A basket by Thompson gave her teammates a 17-14 lead early in the second quarter, but Elizabethton would soon take away the momentum from Unicoi County.
With the score tied at 18-18, on a free-throw by Edwards, four points by Erin Kiser gave Elizabethton a 22-18 lead and they never looked back. Edwards’ free-throw was Unicoi County’s last point of the first half as Elizabethton’s running game was ignited as they took a 26-18 halftime lead. It would only get worse for Unicoi County.
Elizabethton head coach Len Dugger watched as his team dismantled Unicoi County in the second half. While Jasmine Jefferson was giving post player Ivory Shelton a battle in the post with her aggressive play, the catalyst for Elizabethton was point guard Kristen Powell, who led the Lady Cyclones with 16 points and leave Lady Devil defenders flailing at air as she repeatedly ran past them for baskets or dishing the ball off to her teammates. Powells’ basket at the end of the third quarter gave Elizabethton a 42-30 lead.
Shutting off the lanes in the fourth quarter, Powell stepped out and drilled two three-pointers in the fourth quarter , the second near the midway point to give Elizabethton a 49-34 lead. Thompson’s basket with two minutes left was Unicoi County’s only basket the final five minutes of the game as Elizabethton won decisively, 52-36.
Dugger watched his team improve to 14-1 overall, 4-0 in conference play and was gracious in victory. “Unicoi County played hard,” Dugger said. “They competed well. Coach Fisher does a fine job. Offensively, I think we were able to knock down some shots at crucial times and we were stingy defensively.”
The numbers bear that out as Unicoi County scored 18 points in both halves. Thompson pulled down eight rebounds and made two steals.
Mikayla Bennett came off the bench and scored six points, grabbed four rebounds, while making two assists and two steals. Chelsey Gardner also contributed six points, three rebounds and one assist. Edwards also had two assists and grabbed four rebounds. Rilie King also scored five points and had two rebounds and one steal. Andrea Engle scored two points while Shelton led with nine rebounds.
The Lady Devils play three games this week. They host Johnson County Tuesday, Jan. 19, and Chuckey-Doak Thursday, Jan. 21, before visiting Sullivan North Friday, Jan. 22. The junior varsity will play at 3:30 p.m. except against Johnson County — there will be no girl’s junior varsity game. The varsity will tip-off at 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 12 vs. Hampton:
The Lady Bulldogs were primed for an upset, leading 48-44 with 24 seconds left in the game, but four points by King gave Unicoi County a narrow 49-48 non-conference win. King’s three-point play with 16 seconds left tied the score at 48-48. With seven seconds left, King’s free-throw conversion gave Unicoi County the win.
The Lady Devils led 11-6 after the first quarter but Hampton came out on fire in the second quarter-outscoring Unicoi County 15-7 to take a 21-18 halftime lead. It was a physical battle in the third quarter that Hampton was winning as they led 29-28 at quarter’s end —foretelling the final quarter that ended with a thrilling finish. King led Unicoi County with 12 points. Edwards followed with nine points while making two assists and three steals. Thompson finished with six points as did Shelton, who led with seven rebounds. McCurry scored five points while Webb and Bennett scored four points each. Webb also grabbed four rebounds. Engle and Gardner each scored two points to complete the Unicoi County scoring.
“Both teams were rusty,” Fisher said. “They both played hard. We were fortunate to win.”

Saturday, Jan. 16 vs. Unaka:
After a difficult loss at Elizabethton the night before, Unicoi County was eager for a win and Unaka was the target as the Lady Devils won easily, 71-26, in a non-conference win.
“We had to bounce back from a disappointing loss,” Fisher said. “We moved the ball well and played well as a team.”
The Lady Rangers never had a chance as the Lady Devils struck early and often-leading 21-9 after the first quarter. The Lady Rangers couldn’t buy a basket while Unicoi County had a bonanza of points, taking a 43-18 halftime lead. Eleven Lady Devils entered the scoring column, led by King’s 16 points. Thompson scored 13 points while making two assists and one steal. Shelton, Edwards and Webb followed with nine points each. Webb grabbed four rebounds, had three assists and made one steal. Shelton grabbed seven rebounds. Edwards grabbed six rebounds, made three assists and had two steals. McCurry scored seven points and grabbed two rebounds. Engle scored three points, made two assists and had six rebounds. Gardner, Bennett and Toody Tolley each scored two points. Gardner grabbed six rebounds and had one steal. Bennett had one assist and three steals while Tolley grabbed four rebounds. Brooke Barnett scored one point to end the Lady Devil scoring while Brittany Depew contributed one assist and two steals.