Kerri Kings Unicoi County High Shcool Lady Devil basketball team is riding a two-game winning streak going into this weeks Three Rivers Conference matchup with Sullivan East.
The Lady Devils (3-3) rode a 27-11 run in the second quarter to a win over Unaka High School, 71-49, in front of a packed house at the Devils Den in Erwin on Tuesday, Nov. 27.
In the crucial non-conference contest, matching the pace and intensity was key against the Watauga Valley Conference team, according to King, who scored her first home win as the Lady Devils head coach.
We knew they were a real athletic team and that we had to match their intensity and physicality on the court,” King said. “We just starting playing blue-collar type of basketball, just attacking and our girls responded well.”
Unaka opened the game with a 4-0 run in the first two minutes. The Lady Devils worked within an 18-15 deficit going into the second quarter.
The floodgates then opened for UCHS with a 19-3 run during the first five minutes of the second quarter thanks to baskets from Emily Edwards, Whitley True, Tiffany Laughren and Haley Webb. With three minutes to play in the first half the Lady Devils led 37-18.
“They outscored us 27-11 in the second and that really put us in a deficit,” Unaka coach Wes Wright said. “We got in some foul trouble in the second quarter. We've got to get into a habit of teaching our girls how to play smart with two fouls on them early.”
The Lady Devils went into the locker room at halftime with a 45-26 advantage.
Unaka would rally in the second half with baskets from Autumn Bradshaw and Kassi Winters, who finished the night with 10 points each, but a pair of three-pointers from Edwards and True would stymie any early third quarter rally as UCHS went into the final quarter with a 58-40 advantage.
I told our girls at the beginning of the season that wed have a tough schedule, Wright said. Playing against teams like Unicoi County really exposes our weakness and helps us get better.
While the offense was there, the credit for the win goes to the Lady Devil defense, according to King.
I was proud of the way Tiffany (Laughren) and Chesley (Harness) really adjusted and played for us tonight defensively, King said.
Edwards finished the night as the Lady Devils leading scorer with 26 points against the Lady Rangers. Laughren and Webb chipped in at double-figures with 11 points each. Harness neared a double-double with nine rebounds and eight points. Hayes kept pace on the boards with seven rebounds.
The Lady Devils will look to chalk up their first conference win of the season on Friday, Dec. 7, as they host the Sullivan East Lady Patriots. The game is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.
Next week will be big for us opening up conference play, King said. Having the extra time off will give us time to clean up some things on both sides of the ball.
The junior varsity will be in action against Sullivan East at 3:30 p.m.
The Lady Devils will end this week against Big Eight Conference foe Sullivan South on the road. The weekend games are set to begin at 5 p.m. with the junior varsity game. The varsity action is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.
East will open up back-to-back weeks for the ladies in conference action. The Lady Devils will travel to Elizabethton next week.
The junior varsity team recorded their second straight win of the season behind a 23-point performance from Haley Webb en route to a 59-46 win over the Unakas junior varsity Rangers. Hannah Rice also scored 13 points in the victory.
By Curtis Carden