Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Victory gives Lady Devils top spot in conference

Coach Josh Epperson’s team had the perfect medicine for the losing streak that hit them during the final week on 2011: win two games by considerable margins.
Unicoi County (14-5) (3-0) took over sole possession of the top spot in the Three Rivers Conference by knocking off Happy Valley, who was 2-0 in the conference prior to the game, on Friday with a 68-35 win.
The Lady Warriors stuck around at the end of the first half, trailing only by seven. But in the second half the Lady Devils would hold the home team in check with a fiery defensive effort that allowed only eight points in third. At the same time, the Lady Devils doubled their 24-point total from the second quarter to 48 points by the end of the third quarter.
“Our pressure defense in the second half was a big key,” Epperson said. “We got some easy looks and once we got those everything started going for us.
“Happy Valley is a good half-court defensive team, but once we extended into the full court we were able to take advantage of some opportunities.”
Three girls finished in double figures for Unicoi, with Emily Edwards, Chelsey Gardner and Rilie King all chipping in 14 points in the winning effort.
“It was good to get everything turned around,” said King. “During practice we really emphasized defense and it worked out for us. We just need to keep up the momentum going forward.”
King, one of the three seniors on the squad, played an intricate role for the Devils going into the second half.
“She really stepped it up in the second half. When she has a game like that, the girls just feed off her energy and it really helped on the defensive side of things,” Epperson said. “We really focused on defense following the Johnson City tournament and the girls responded very well tonight.”
Gardner was a part of the defensive effort for the Devils in the second half.
“It’s good to get back on a roll after winning the past two games,” Gardner stated. “Our defense really did a great job of shutting them down tonight.”
Emmie Thompson showed her post presence during the game, leading the team with eight rebounds and contributing seven points along with four steals and a block of her own.
“It was just an overall team effort,” Epperson said of the performance.
Brooke Barnett chipped in six points from the bench. Whitley True drained a three-pointer during the offensive onslaught.
The Lady Devils opened up the new year with a bang thanks to a 59-34 dominating performance over the Unaka Rangers in front of the Blue Nation during the first regular season game in January.
King led the team with 13 points and five rebounds. Edwards brought in a 12-point and five-rebound performance. Mikayla Bennett contributed double figures with 10 points. Gardner led the rebounding effort with seven, being followed closely behind by freshman, Chelsey Harness, who hauled in six of her own. Thompson tallied in five points. Laughren nailed six points and freshman Haley Webb scored a bucket of her own with time ticking down in the fourth.
UCHS gets a chance for revenge on Tuesday, facing Hampton in the Devils Den on Tuesday, Jan. 10. Hampton narrowly defeated the Lady Devils in the final round of the Honda Classic by the score of 53-51.
On Friday, Jan. 13., the Lady Devils will wrap up the week with a game in Kingsport against Sullivan North in Three Rivers Conference play. All games are set to begin at 6:30 p.m.