Happy Valley holds off Ranger rally

Published 10:42 pm Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Photo by Bart Nave Happy Valley's Josh Hammonds goes up for a lay up.

Photo by Bart Nave
Happy Valley’s Josh Hammonds goes up for a lay up during Tuesday’s game at Unaka. 

Unaka erased a 12-point halftime deficit and the Rangers rallied to take a slim lead in the third period, but Happy Valley was able to hold off the late charge to register a 66-61 victory on Tuesday night at Snavely gym.

Senior guard Josh Hammonds scored 18 points, and junior wing Austin Hicks scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half to vault HV to the win.

“We got in foul trouble early and Josh controlled the ball well for us,” Hicks said. “The free throws were there and I just made them, but I give a lot of credit to our bench. They stepped up and they have worked hard all summer and waited for football to end. They have been right there behind us.”

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Poor free throw shooting in the first half hurt Unaka as the Rangers hit just 13-of-22 from the charity stripe as the Warriors built a 33-21 halftime bulge.

A 16-4 run to open the third period saw Unaka close the gap to 38-37 with 3:45 remaining, but Hammonds answered for HV with an end-to-end dribble drive bucket to make it a 40-37 contest.

A bucket from Colton Chambers made it a one point game and moments later a triple from senior point guard Joe Searfoss gave the Rangers their first lead of the game at 44-42. In the third period Unaka connected on 10-of-12 shots from the floor including a pair of trey’s from Searfoss who led all scorers with 20 points.

Nathan Kyte dropped in a three-ball at the buzzer to end the third period and HV (4-0 overall) now led 48-46 going into the final period.

Hicks made a three-point play with 5:46 remaining in regulation to give the Warriors a 51-46 lead but a pair of free throws from Dylan Carrier closed it to 51-48. Hicks then scored a deuce in the paint and Tyler Torbett put in a left handed layup for a 55-48 HV lead with 4:30 left.

All but two Unaka’s fourth quarter points came from the free throw line, but a Searfoss deuce with 38 seconds left made it a one-point game at 60-59 in favor of Happy Valley. The Rangers reversed their shooting from the foul line in the second half hitting 16-of-19 from the stripe.

A steal and bucket from Sam Blevins with the Warriors clinging to a three-point lead sealed the victory for Happy Valley.

“We knew it was coming,” Warriors head coach Chuck Babb said of the Unaka rally. “Last year on the same spot on the court Braeden Sams made the play. We knew we would have to get past that initial wave in the second half. These county rivalry games are tough no matter who it is, but we made the adjustment in the fourth quarter and made our free throws when we had to have them.”


Happy Valley 48, Unaka 32

Senior point guard Hannah Tipton opened with the hot hand and helped Unaka (3-3 overall) to an early lead, but strong defense by Happy Valley in the second half gave the Lady Warriors a 48-32 victory.

Tipton scored 10 first quarter points and had 14 at the half along with Lady Warriors senior post Kalee Johnson. The Lady Rangers couldn’t overcome 20 turnovers however as HV made a second half surge.

“We didn’t play well in the first quarter,” Lady Warriors head coach Larry Abel said. “We weren’t patient in that first quarter and didn’t get the ball inside. In the third period we made adjustments and the girls did a good job with that.”

The Lady Rangers opened the second period with a five point run to take a 19-13 lead with 6:42 left in the stanza before Kalee Johnson ended the run with a bucket in the paint for Happy Valley. In the run Lexi Garland had a three-ball and Tipton added a deuce.

Johnson tied the game at 20-20 with a pair of free throws and Unaka followed with a turnover and Johnson hit another pair from the charity stripe to give HV a 22-20 lead with 2:49 remaining in the half.

After a Tipton bucket knotted the score at 22-22, Emily Whitaker had a steal and knocked down a trey to stake the Lady Warriors to a 25-22 advantage that remained until the break.

An 8-2 run to open the third period gave HV a 33-24 lead with 3:44 left in the stanza as Tipton went cold for the Rangers while Johnson tossed in two buckets with Baylee McGee and Brianna Buck each adding one.

HV (4-2 overall) continued to pour it on in the fourth period with a six-to-three run to open a 44-30 lead and HV held Unaka to single digit scoring in each of the last three periods. Johnson finished with a game high 24 points and had eight steals in the contest, while Tipton led the Rangers with 17 points.



Happy Valley 48-32

Happy Valley (48)

Davis 5, McGee 4, Puckett 2, Roberts 5, Buck 4, Johnson 24, Whitaker 3, Bare 1.

Unaka (32)

H.Tipton 17, Garland 3, Sav.Tipton 3, Wright 7, Parlier 2.


Happy Valley 13 12 13 10 – 48

Unaka 14 8 4 6 – 32

3-point goals: HV 3-12 (Davis 1-2, McGee 0-1, Puckett 0-3, Roberts 1-1, Whitaker 1-4, Johnson 0-1) U 2-13 (Sa. Tipton 0-2, H. Tipton 1-3, Garland 1-2, Sav. Tipton 0-2, Markland 0-1, Ensor 0-2, Weaver 0-1)



Happy Valley 66-61

Happy Valley (66)

Barlow 8, Young 2, Hammonds 18, Kyte 3, Torbett 7, Hicks 14, Camargo 3, Blevins 7, Sams 3.

Unaka (61)

Lewis 13, Searfoss 20, Carrier 13, Chambers 15


Happy Valley 12 21 15 17 – 66

Unaka 6 15 25 15 – 61

3-point goals: HV 2-7 (Hammonds 1-2, Young 0-1, Kyte 1-1, Torbett 0-1, Camargo 1-1, Sams 0- 1) U 2-7 (Lewis 0-1, Searfoss 2-6)