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Lady Devils run over Longhorns

Guards Haley Webb and Hannah Rice each scored 17 points as the Unicoi County High School Lady Devil basketball team earned a lopsided 70-31 win on Friday, Jan. 9, against Johnson County in Mountain City.
The win, which is the squad’s sixth in its past seven games, moved UCHS to a 9-9 record overall with a 3-2 mark in the Three Rivers Conference.
“We had that little trip near Christmas,” head coach Kerri King said, “and bonded a little bit and relaxed some. I think we just put a lot of pressure on ourselves when we picked up a few losses early in the season. … I think they just relaxed into their play more.”
With the game at 20-14 the Lady Blue Devils organized a 25-1 run to take a 45-15 lead with 3:30 remaining in the third quarter.
UCHS tattooed the Lady Longhorns with 12 three-pointers in the rout. Webb knocked down five, Rice added three, Morgan Lee Brown had two and Kenedy King and Emily Lynch had one each.
Halie Padgett brought the offensive down low with eight points. Brown and Lynch added six each. Chelsey Harness (five points), King (three points) and Ashlie Padgett, Destinie Hayes, Neelee Griffith and Rachel Lynch with two points each rounded out the scoring for UCHS.
Johnson County was led by Kourtney Tolley’s team-high 11-point effort.
• • •
It was all Sullivan South in the first half on Tuesday, Jan. 6. Then the Lady Blue Devils got the spark they needed from the hand of sophomore Ashley Edwards.
With her team down 22-16 at the half, Edwards added a three-pointer and dished out a pair of assists that ultimately led to a 20-11 run by UCHS in the third quarter.
After jockeying for position in the fourth, the Lady Blue Devils came out victorious, 51-48.
“I was really hoping to boost their confidence,” Edwards said about the spark. “We just needed some wins. We struggled in the first half of the season, but we’re starting to play together and play well.”
Another spark came from Rice, who finished with 15 points, most of which came during the rally for UCHS in the second half.
“Hannah is a gamer,” King said. “She’ll come through in those spots where the game is on the line.”
As the hardwood general, Rice saw the likes of Harness, Hayes and Halie Padgett come up with key shots during the second half rally.
“It’s been big,” Rice said. “We have those type of players that step up for us when we need them. That first win during this stretch boosted our confidence and we knew we could win these games.”
• • •
The conference wins over Johnson County and Sullivan South helped the Lady Devils improve their standing in the Three Rivers Conference. As on Tuesday, Jan. 13, the Lady Blue Devils were in a dead heat with Happy Valley for the third place spot. Both teams will meet on Warrior Hill on Friday, Jan. 15.
First, the Lady Devils squared off against the Sullivan North Lady Golden Raiders on Tuesday, Jan. 13, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline.
The Lady Blue Devils will end the week with a home contest on Saturday, Jan. 16, against the undefeated Elizabethton Lady Cyclones.
Junior varsity games are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. Varsity action is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.