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Tourney time has arrived

Grit. Determination.
These are the qualities of a champion and they are the qualities of the Unicoi County High School Blue Devil basketball team.
After a heart-racing week of hoops for Unicoi County, the Blue Devils ultimately pulled away with a share of the Three Rivers Conference championship. The squad also secured a first-seed into this week’s district tournament and will play for position in the Region 1-AA tournament.
It’s been a collective effort by the squad under the return of head coach John English. The coaching staff of English, Michael Smith, Ben Evely and Drew Rice was able to make a quick turnaround from last season and turn the Blue Devils into a threat to Class AA opponents in the postseason.
Point guard Ethan Rice was honored for his 1,000th point during the regular season finale on Saturday against Hampton.
“It’s never been about the points for me,” Rice said after the win over Hampton on Saturday. “The assists, rebounds, steals. It’s been about helping our team win.”
And it’s been a team effort with fellow seniors Keith Arrowood, Nic Chambers, Austin Green, Lucas Hensley, Connor Simpson, Thomas Tipton and Sam Wilder.
A team effort Rice could have missed, after recovering from Tommy John’s surgery back in 2013.
“It’s a great way to end the regular season. The atmosphere was great tonight,” Rice said. “We’ve always been a family and it was a big win for us going into the district tournament.”
• • •
A shout out to the Blue Nation is needed. During the Breast Cancer Awareness Night at UCHS on Saturday, the Blue Nation came out in full force – and even stormed the court following the Blue Devils win.
Now that it is postseason time in Tennessee the fan support will be crucial during this time and the Blue Nation showed they can raise some cain.
Let’s see if it can keep up this week.

For the remainder of this article please see the February 12, 2014 edition of The Erwin Record.