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Loss to Doak ends season for Lady Devils

Chuckey-Doak forced three straight turnovers to open up the second half, giving them the lead they needed to secure a 78-57 win over the Unicoi County High School Lady Devil basketball team on Monday, Feb. 23, in the Region 1-AA quarterfinals in Greene County.
The loss for the Lady Blue Devils (17-15) ended their season. The Lady Black Knights advanced to face Elizabethton in the Region 1-AA semifinals at Sullivan East.
“I thought we did a good job of finishing out the regular season strong,” UCHS head coach Kerri King said. “I thought they did a great job with that through the tournament play today … tonight, I just thought that third quarter, we let them score in transition and our reaction was to foul. It just snowballed from there.”
Hannah Rice and Haley Webb combined for 19 points in the first half, helping the Lady Blue Devils keep things close at halftime behind 27-26.
Chuckey-Doak cranked up the defense to open up the third, which led to a 14-4 run in the opening three minutes of the quarter. The Lady Black Knights held a 53-39 lead at the end of the third.
UCHS began to chip away at the lead in the fourth, cutting the deficit within nine, but Andi Lamb (26 points) and company would pull away late with the win. Keri Ricker finished with 22 for the Lady Black Knights.
Lady Blue Devil Hannah Rice led her squad with 24 points and a pair of assists. Chelsey Harness tacked on 10 points and seven boards. Destinie Hayes led the rebound total with a game-high 15 rebounds.
Haley Webb added nine points. Morgan Lee Brown and Emily Lynch added five each to round out the scoring. Neelee Griffith and Halie Padgett also saw time on the court.
Brown, Harness, Hayes, Lynch and Webb comprise the senior group that ended their high school career Monday.
“Any time you have a lot of girls in the same class, you get a strong bond,” King said. “You get a strong sense of their personalities and the team takes their demeanor. These seniors are hard-working, resilient and they have a good skillset to not only be successful in basketball but in life.”
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A pair of 20-plus point efforts last week secured momentum for the Lady Devils going into Monday’s game at Chuckey-Doak.
Chelsey Harness led the way with 23 points, while Rice dropped 21 in the ladies’ 64-63 triumph over Happy Valley on Friday, Feb. 20, in the District 1-AA consolation game held in Bluff City.
It was the second half intensity once again for UCHS that played in their favor.
The Lady Warriors had the advantage in the early going, leading by as much as 18 points, but UCHS would cut the lead with nine heading to halftime, 38-29.
“In the second half, we just tried to refocus – take it possession by possession,” head coach Kerri King said.
A bit of a layoff didn’t help both teams either. The tournament, which concluded Feb. 20, was supposed to end for the Lady Blue Devils on Monday, Feb. 16, but inclement weather put a hamper on plans.
“You always want to think you’re prepared,” King said of playing after a layoff. “We sat around a few days, but Happy Valley had those days off, too, and they came out and looked more polished in the first half.”
It was about keeping the intensity, Rice said. The junior guard finished with 21 points in the game and helped keep the offensive tempo thriving in the third quarter to knot things up at 46-46 heading into the fourth quarter.
Harness (23 points, 10 rebounds) and Rice chipped in free throws late to ultimately give their team the lead, but it was surviving the fourth quarter push by Happy Valley that paid dividends, according to Harness.
“We started switching everything and I think that helped a lot,” she added.
The Lady Warriors cranked up the offense with Kalee Johnson leading the game with 28 points and nine rebounds. Emily Whitaker also cashed in 18 points for Happy Valley, but was limited to just a bucket in the second half.
Halie Padgett netted six points for the Lady Devils. Ashlie Padgett and Webb scored five points each. Destinie Hayes finished with four points and 11 rebounds.