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UCHS Basketball Preview – Tough league awaits Devils, Lady Devils

The Unicoi County High School Blue Devil and Lady Devil varsity basketball teams will embark on another trip across the Three Rivers Conference this season with title aspirations on the line.
With parity amongst the ranks on both the boys and girls sides, here is a look at conference teams, including their results from the 2013-2014 season.
Boys
Elizabethton
Cyclones (23-9)
The Cyclones are coached by Lucas Honeycutt and are coming off a postseason run last season that ended at the Region 1-AA tournament in Greeneville.
Elizabethton lost point guard Zeke Clark due to graduation, but returns guard Tyler Nichols as the leader of the offense.

Happy Valley
Warriors (2-25)
Chuck Babb saw his team nearly pull off postseason magic once again last year after a close contest with Sullivan South in the district tournament.
The Warriors will be led inside by sophomore big man Austin Hicks.

Johnson County
Longhorns (16-13)
The Longhorns will miss post player Brian Dempsey, but return a bevy of players for head coach Austin Atwood.
Chase Phillips will anchor the outside for the ‘Horns as the team returns the likes of J.R. Speed and Cody Bailie.

Sullivan East
Patriots (11-18)
Sullivan East will bank on a potent sophomore class for success this season.
Coach John Dyer will miss guard Anthony Vannoy, but the team will see Gavin Grubb lead the charge as the Patriots contend for the top spot in the league.

Sullivan North
Golden Raiders (8-16)
Jay Gregory will look to move the Golden Raiders up in conference standings this season with solid guard play.
Zack Byrnes is also expected to contribute to the team as the Golden Raiders look for other players to fill roles throughout the season.
Sullivan South
Rebels (16-15)
The reigning Three Rivers Conference co-champs are unanimously chosen as the overwhelming favorite to finish first in the league by coaches at the league’s jamboree earlier this month.
Coached by Mark Pendleton, the Rebels will have a key core of guys returning this season, including big man Christian Comsa and outside threats like Evan Headrick.

Girls
Elizabethton
Lady Cyclones (32-3)
The reigning Class AA state champions shouldn’t miss a beat, only losing one player from last season due to graduation.
Len Dugger’s ball club is led by the Marosites – Kayla and Kelci. Kyra McCray, Megan Pietrowski and Sarah Robinson are the three seniors on the team.

Happy Valley
Lady Warriors (16-17)
Head coach Larry Abel and company will miss Mackenzie Blankenship, who graduated after last season. However, the team returns a multitude of underclassmen.
The Lady Warriors will be led by Kalee Johnson in the post.

Johnson County
Lady Longhorns (6-22)
It looks to be a year of growth once again for head coach Todd Whittemore in Mountain City.
The Lady Longhorns stayed close in many of their games last season, but were unable to get over the hump.
Johnson County will be led by Kourtney Tolley at the guard spot.

Sullivan East
Lady Patriots (28-8)
The Lady Patriots saw a steamroller of success come through Bluff City en route Region 1-AA berth for head coach Allen Aubrey.
Sullivan East is led by a potent lineup featuring point guard Brandy Watkins and forward Kara Stafford in their junior seasons.

Sullivan North
Lady Golden Raiders (4-18)
Chad Robinson takes over a girls program that won four games last season after being unable to field a varsity team the previous season.
The Lady Golden Raiders are led by senior Michala Baker and have 6-foot-plus Rhealyn Salyers for her junior campaign in the post. Shenoah Bradley is coming off a successful freshman campaign and will anchor the team at guard.
Sullivan South
Lady Rebels (18-14)
The Lady Rebels had a coaching transition before their first season inside the Three Rivers Conference but Torey Halie brought the hammer down, finishing over .500 and third inside the league.
Brayden Hutchins looks to anchor the team for her senior campaign and will be joined by Courtney Hagy and Sydney Jackson.