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Teams return to action Dec. 26

After a week away from the hardwood, the Unicoi County High School basketball teams will keep busy heading into the new year.
Locally, the Lady Blue Devils (3-8) will compete in the annual Johnson City Honda Invitational tournament held at Daniel Boone High School. The multi-day event begins Friday, Dec. 26.
The varsity field for the tournament features 11 teams, including Daniel Boone, Dobyns-Bennett, Volunteer, Hampton, Morristown East, Cherokee, Cloudland, Johnson County, Unaka and Sequoyah.
Head coach Kerri King will see her team open up action at 6 p.m. on Dec. 26, squaring off against Volunteer. The teams were previously scheduled to open up the season in Hall of Champions’ play in Erwin but the game was cancelled due to a player injury during warm-ups.
Savannah Felgemacher, a James Madison-signee, leads the Lady Falcons (3-6) heading into the contest. The team is coming off a stint in the Doc Maples tournament held in Bristol. Felgemacher was dinged up during action last week, so it’s currently up in the air if she’ll participate Friday.
UCHS counters with their sharpshooters, led by senior Haley Webb, who netted state-record breaking status a few weeks back with eight three-pointers in the first half of a blowout victory against Sullivan North and knocked in another eight in the girls’ overtime loss to Hampton two weeks ago.
Junior point guard Hannah Rice and senior Chelsey Harness are offensive threats while Emily Lynch is the defensive specialist for the team.
Lady Blue Devil Destinie Hayes will also look to be a problem in the paint for Volunteer. Hayes recently rattled off four consecutive double-double performances and averaged 19 boards in her past four games.
The teams met last year to open the year in Rogersville with the Lady Falcons escaping with a narrow 53-52 win.
A UCHS win on the opening day will send the team into the winners’ bracket on Saturday with a 6 p.m. tip-off against Sequoyah, who received a bye, while a loss will place the team in the consolation bracket, playing the loser of Unaka and Dobyns-Bennett at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
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Jordan Simmons and Megan Davis will have the junior varsity Lady Blue Devils staying busy in the auxiliary gym at Daniel Boone. UCHS will participate in the junior varsity tournament, beginning the same day as the varsity event.
The girls will face Daniel Boone at 4 p.m. on Friday and continue play the next day.
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The Blue Devils (9-5) will be heading back to Knoxville for post-Christmas basketball fun.
For a second-straight year, UCHS will compete in the annual BSN Sports/Nike Super 16 tournament held at Bearden High School.
John English’s crew will be one of the eight teams in the tournament field that features the host school, Loudon, as well as South-Doyle, Christian Academy of Knoxville, York Institute, Gibbs and Hunter Lanes.
UCHS will have their work cut out for them in the tournament’s opener, also on Friday, Dec. 26, squaring off against the Knox Bearden Bulldogs. Tip-off for the game is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Bearden is led by a pair of juniors. In the paint, double-double machine junior Jason Smith, a 6’-4” center, patrols inside while Quez Fair runs the point for the team that was sitting with a 14-0 record as of Dec. 18.
Blue Nation counters with sparkplug seniors Zach Thelen and Merrick Nicksic. Nicksic, a Science Hill transfer, has been a solid addition to the team with ball-handling skills and netting double figure scoring in the past two weeks of action for the team.
Sophomore Jacob Smith continues to grow in the paint, while another sophomore, Dylan Putman, and freshman Trevor Hensley add extra shooting prowess.
Austin Hendrickson, a senior guard, goes under 6-feet but has been a solid defender in the past three games.
With a win, the Blue Devils will advance in the winners’ bracket on Saturday with a 7 p.m. contest against the winner of Loudon/South-Doyle games. A loss to will have UCHS pitted against the loser of Loudon/South-Doyle at 4 p.m. in the consolation bracket.
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Daily updates on tournament action will be featured online on The Erwin Record Sports Facebook page and on Twitter: @CurtisCarden_ER.
A full recap of the week of action from both programs will be included in the Dec. 31 issue of The Erwin Record.