By Richard Rourk
The Unicoi County High School girls basketball team split two road conference games last week before returning home for a key league win on Monday, Jan. 25.
The Lady Devils (13-7, 6-4) traveled to Sullivan South on Tuesday, Jan. 22, for a matchup that pitted the second-place Lady Devils against the third-place Lady Rebels.
Head coach Kerri King’s team led the way throughout the game at South, but ran out of gas to lose a heartbreaker in overtime, 48-47.
The Lady Devils held a 40-30 lead with 4 minutes remaining in the game, but South moved quickly to tie it up and send the game into overtime.
Senior guard Chloe Powers led the Lady Devils in scoring with 17 points, and finished with 4 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal in the loss. Scoring 10 points for the Lady Devils was sophomore guard Caroline Podvin.
Senior guard Kaylee Hendrickson and sophomore guard Tenley Holt each had 8 points on the night. Hendrickson grabbed 8 rebounds and dished out 6 assists. Scoring 2 points each were junior guard Ashtan Vance and senior post Allee Griffith. Vance, who had been out due to an ankle injury, grabbed 4 rebounds in the game. Griffith pulled down 12 boards and finished with 2 steals and 2 assists on the night.
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On Friday, Jan. 25, the Lady Devils made the long trip to Johnson County to square off with the Lady Longhorns. The Lady Devils left Johnson County with a 39-28 victory. Johnson County had defeated UCHS in Erwin in December.
The Lady Devils played a very physical and aggressive game at Johnson County on Friday. King utilized every available second to coach her players and to control the tempo of the game.
The Lady Devils held onto a 17-14 halftime lead against the home team and never looked back as they controlled the clock the rest of the game.
“We were patient against Johnson County’s matchup zone, and managed our lead at the end of the game,” King told The Erwin Record.
The Lady Devils shared scoring duties on Friday’s game, and were led by Holt, who finished with 10 points. Hendrickson and Griffith scored 9 points each and Podvin put up 6 points in the victory. Powers scored 3 points and Vance finished the night with 2 points.
Griffith grabbed 13 boards and added a steal and an assist to her stats. Podvin pulled down 6 rebounds and added an assist and a steal as well. Powers finished the night with 5 rebounds and 2 steals. Grabbing 3 rebounds and dishing out 1 assist was Vance. Holt finished with 2 rebounds and an assist, and junior guard Kayla Street had 1 rebound and a steal in the victory. Hendrickson grabbed one board, had one steal, and dished out 4 assists against the Lady Longhorns.
The Lady Devils attacked the boards and played an up-tempo defense all night long.
“Our communication on defense was fantastic,” King said.
King said she feels good about this team as they head down the stretch in conference play.
“That was a growing step for us because against South, we didn’t use game sense late,” King said.
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The Lady Devils returned back to the friendly confines of the Devils’ Den to take on conference foe Sullivan East in a key Three Rivers matchup. The Lady Devils pulled out a 66-61 overtime victory against the Lady Patriots in a game that was originally scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 29, but was played on Monday, Jan. 28, due to pending weather conditions.
The Lady Devils rallied behind the hot hand of Hendrickson, who accounted for 19 points. Hendrickson also had 6 assists and 4 boards. Podvin finished the game with a double-double, scoring 14 points and 13 rebounds. Podvin also had 4 blocks. Joining Podvin with a double-double was Griffith, who scored 10 points and grabbed 13 boards.
Putting up 11 points and 7 rebounds in the win was Powers. Holt and Vance each scored 6 points. Holt had 8 boards, while Vance had 10 rebounds on the night.
“The team had an impressive 55 rebounds for the night,” King told The Erwin Record.
King was very impressed with her team and their resiliency.
“Ashtan Vance and Tenley Holt did a great job with East’s point guard,” King said.
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As they inch closer to tournament play, the Lady Devils look ahead to several key matchups this week. The Lady Devils travel to Carter County to face off against conference rival Elizabethton Lady Cyclones on Friday, Feb. 1.
The Lady Devils come home to Unicoi County for a non-conference matchup against the Chuckey-Doak Lady Knights on Saturday, Feb. 2. On Tuesday, Feb. 5, The Lady Devils finish conference play by traveling to Sullivan County to take on Three Rivers Conference leader Sullivan Central in a key game. All game varsity are scheduled for 6:30 p.m.