By Trey Williams
She missed all but three games of her freshman season due to a labrum injury and lost a handful of games during her senior season to the threat of COVID-19, but Unicoi County’s Caroline Podvin ended her final regular season Three Rivers Conference game with exactly 1,000 points.
Podvin silver-lined a 60-38 loss at Sullivan Central on Tuesday, Feb. 9, with a driving, left-handed lay-in that put her precisely on the century mark. “It’s definitely something I’ll remember forever,” Podvin said. “Losing some games this year and my freshman year was difficult, but I’m just thankful our team was able to have games at all this year.”
Podvin, a versatile 5-foot-10 inside-out threat, finished the game with a team-high 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists. She also made the Blue Devils’ lone 3-pointer.
“Caroline’s a Swiss Army knife,” Unicoi County coach Kerri King said. “She has multiple tools and uses them for whatever the need. We literally have played her at every position from the one through five and rest her rarely. If people mistake her quiet, understated demeanor, they haven’t played with or against her and need to take note. “She is loyal to her coaches and trusts her teammates. She finds comfort in her fellow seniors. On the floor she and Tenley (Holt) complement each other’s game. And Emma (Griffith) and Leah (Edney) are her girls – I mean her girls for life.”
Holt and Abigail Rush added eight and six points, respectively, against Sullivan Central. Rush and Podvin scored 15 points apiece in a 64-31 win against Hampton in the regular season finale on Saturday. Holt and freshman Allie Lingerfelt added nine points apiece. Rush scored nine points in the first quarter. All of those came from 3-point range.
“Against Hampton, Abigail stepped up to the plate,” Holt said. “She did very well and I have high hopes for her next year to be a leader.” Fifth-seeded Unicoi County (12-12) will visit fourth-seeded Happy Valley (10-8) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the opening round of the District 1-AA tournament.
The winner will secure a regional berth and a date in Friday’s semifinals against Three Rivers Conference champion Sullivan East. Unicoi County dealt East its lone league loss. The Blue Devils defeated Happy Valley, 47-26, in Erwin on Dec. 4, but dropped a 42-35 decision in Elizabethton on Jan. 19. “They are very physical,” King said. “We know that, and we are gonna come expecting it.”
Podvin scored 15 points in the loss to the Warriors after scoring 19 in the victory.
“The key against Happy Valley will be staying composed and aggressive,” Podvin said.
Oddly enough, the Blue Devils were without Edney and Allie Lingerfelt in the win against Happy Valley. Apparently, according to Holt, the Blue Devils were without focus, too.
“What was different about the games is we didn’t go into the second game with the intensity we had the other game,” Holt said. “Happy Valley was a very physical team and we didn’t match up with them the second go-around. But I think if we go in with the mindset we did when facing East and Hampton, we can do really well.”
Happy Valley ended the Blue Devils’ season in the district tournament last year at Sullivan East.