Hometown, conference rivals to play tonight

Published 12:52 pm Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tonight will be a big one in local basketball as one team travels to South Greene to even the score with the conference leader and two schools face off in a hometown rival game.

The Hampton Bulldogs (1-1, 13-6) will make their way to the home of the South Greene Rebels (4-0, 9-9) who are ranked No. 1 in the Watauga Valley Conference.

The last time the two teams met up, it came down to an overtime scramble, with the Rebels pulling of a 68-59 win.

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“We just have to make some adjustments and go and play,” Bulldogs head coach Ned Smith said. “They beat us in overtime at the beginning of the season. We just have to make some adjustments. We have to play harder, and go to the boards better. We also have to make sure we have a better shot selection.”

Like the boys, the Lady Bulldogs will have a chance to beat a team that got the better of them the last time around.

Meanwhile, the stands should be filled inside John Treadway Gym tonight as the Cyclones host rival Happy Valley.

The Lady Warriors will be coming off an exciting 61-56 win against Cloudland, which was made possible by a last-second, half-court shot by Jenna Eaton in the fourth to send the teams into overtime.

It will take a lot of momentum from the Lady Warriors (3-2, 12-5), however, to upset the undefeated Lady Cyclones (5-0, 16-0).

“We know what to expect,” Happy Valley head coach Larry Abel said. “They are defending state champs and have two of the better shooters in East Tennessee, and as far as that goes, in the state. We have a large task ahead of us.”

“We are really banged up right now,” Abel added. “We have some injuries and some kids who are out right now. We will have to have some kids step up.”

Lady Cyclones head coach Len Dugger feels that if his team goes out with its typical intensity, things should end well.

“Happy Valley has an excellent team, and Coach Abel has done a terrific job this year with his team,” Dugger said. “You know, we feel like we have to just go out and play with the effort that we have played with the last few games and execute. We feel like we will be all right if we do those things.”

Like the Lady Warriors, the Happy Valley boys will have a tough task on their hand as they face off with the Cyclones (4-1, 10-8).

For Warriors head coach Chuck Babb, facing big teams like the Cyclones is a chance for the Warriors to show what they are made of.

“Its all about playing and playing tough,” Babb said. “We have to stay focus on what we are trying to do. … It is easy to play hard, when things are going well. But when you are facing adversity it is tough and you have show some character.”

Elizabethton will be looking to pick itself back up after a heartbreaking loss to the Sullivan South Rebels, who pulled off a close 48-47 win.

“We are coming off a loss at home,” Cyclones’ head coach Lucas Honeycutt said. “We want to get re-established on our home court. We want to make sure we are focused and are playing our best basketball.”

“The biggest thing is coming back and responding to a big conference loss and not letting it effect us too much,” he added.

Cloudland will be loading up the bus and traveling over to Johnson County to meet up with the Longhorns.

The Lady Highlanders (2-2, 5-8) will be shaking off their narrow loss to the Lady Warriors as they try and better their record.

“Every night you have to be prepared for who ever you play,” Cloudland head coach Matt Birchfield said. “We did come off a tough loss to Happy Valley. Things didn’t go our way, but I feel like even against the Lady Longhorns (0-5, 1-10) we have to come in with that mind set of winning. It is a tough place to play. You know, regardless of the color of the jersey, you have to be ready to play.”

The Cloudland boys (1-3, 4-10) will be rolling off a big 82-68 win against the Warriors as they seek to pull a win against the Longhorns (1-5, 9-8).

The Unaka Rangers (0-4, 4-13) will saddle up and ride over to North Greene to play the Huskies (3-2, 9-8), who are in third in the Watauga Valley Conference right behind the Bulldogs.

The Lady Rangers (1-3, 4-12) will face the WVC’s second-ranked Lady Huskies (4-1, 16-5).