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Lady Devils win first two games

While searching for a new look on the court, the Lady Blue Devils went back to their bread-and-butter to open the season on a bright note.
The Unicoi County High School girls’ basketball team (2-0) drilled 11 three-pointers and limited Volunteer to four points in the second quarter to earn a 55-44 victory on Friday, Nov. 20, in Church Hill during Hall of Champions play.
“I thought we played well,” UCHS head coach Kerri King said. “Last year in the Trailblazer (tournament), we had some trouble controlling them late, but I thought our defensive effort was good today.”
The teams last met in 2014 with the Lady Blue Devils eeking out a 48-46 victory in the Johnson City Honda Trailblazer Invitational at Daniel Boone.
Led behind junior Ashley Edwards, who finished with a team-high 17 points, the Lady Devils came out of the gate to a 13-7 lead on Friday. Edwards drilled a pair of 3-pointers and was followed up from behind the arc by teammate Kenedy King.
The defensive intensity kicked up in the second quarter with the Lady Blue Devils limiting Volunteer to two buckets heading to halftime. The Lady Devil offense more than doubled their first quarter total to take a 30-11 advantage at halftime.
Volunteer began to make some noise in the third period, opening the second half on a 9-1 run; however, senior Lady Devil guard Hannah Rice helped stall the rally, scoring seven of her 12 points.
The Lady Devils led 40-25 going into the final quarter.
The rally continued for the home squad in the waning minutes of the game, but the early deficit proved too much to overcome. Volunteer strung together seven points in row during one of their biggest surges in the period, only to be quieted, thanks to a 3-pointer from Lady Blue Devil freshman guard Kaylee Hendrickson.
Friday’s win proved to be of importance for the squad, King said, as new faces asserted themselves into the rotation.
Hendrickson (eight points) was one of three Lady Blue Devil freshmen to see the court. Another freshman, Chloe Powers, added key defensive minutes at the point guard spot and freshman Allee Griffith helped UCHS in the paint.
Allee’s sister, junior Neelee Griffith, led the team with nine boards. Ashlie Padgett and King were able to swarm the paint to cause trouble against the taller Lady Falcons.
Neelee Griffith added five points. Powers and Rachel Lynch added a bucket each. Padgett also tacked on a free throw to help the squad.
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UCHS continued their winning streak on Saturday, Nov. 21, by capturing a 61-42 victory against Mitchell County, N.C.
Three Lady Blue Devils reached double figures, led by Rice with 16 points.
Hendrickson and Neelee Griffith followed suit with 14 and 11, respectively. Powers chipped in 10.
Edwards added 5 points while King’s three points and Allee Griffith’s two points rounded out the scoring for UCHS.
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Tournament is ahead for the ladies this week as they travel to Sullivan East.
The Lady Devils opened tournament play on Tuesday, Nov. 24, after The Erwin Record’s press deadline against Tennessee High. They will also be in action this weekend.
Updates from the games will be featured online and a full recap will appear in next week’s print issue.