Happy Valley falls to Sullivan East

Published 11:42 pm Tuesday, January 5, 2016

BLUFF CITY–Happy Valley was on a roll coming into the second half of the season while Sullivan East was coming off one of its biggest losses in a long time Saturday, but Tuesday night was a complete 180 for both teams.

The Lady Patriots, who lost 52-15 to Daniel Boone on Saturday night, defeated a red-hot Lady Warrior team 69-57 at the Dyer Dome in a big Three Rivers Conference contest.

This was a battle between two teams who are considered to be the biggest challengers to defending state semifinalist Elizabethton in the TRC and the Warriors were the hotter team coming in with a Johnson City Honda Tournament championship in its hands.

The Lady Warriors also had Northeast Tennessee Player of the Year candidate Kalee Johnson for East to contend with and the Lady Patriots held her to 21, but she had to really work to get that 21 as Alysa Hare had the task of guarding her and she came through early with some big stops.

East led the whole way and it was an impressive start where East ran out to a 7-2 lead and kept extending the lead that saw East really play exceptional defense.
“We played awful last game and I was really pleased with our effort tonight,” said East head coach Allan Aubrey. “We had to battle the whole way and I was proud of our effort.”
“Alysa keeps getting better and better and the Doc Maples tournament was a huge confidence builder for her and not just her shooting, but she is playing good defense and taking care of the basketball. Really, really pleased with her effort.”
Happy Valley finished the night with 22 turnovers and also struggled on the boards. The Lady Warriors made a mini-comeback at the end from a 19-point third quarter deficit to cut it to single digits in the final minute, but it wasn’t enough to erase the damage done by Sullivan East.
“You have to credit East, they have a lot of heart,” said Happy Valley head coach Larry Abel. “We had a lot of unforced turnovers. In the third quarter we were on a little bit of a run and we started turning it over.
The Lady Warriors were definitely playing the better of the two programs coming in, but even despite this setback, Abel is still confident that it can win a lot of games during the second half of the season.
“I feel like we are capable of beating anybody,” said Abel. “We didn’t handle the pressure and gave up too many second chance points. I felt like we did a good job in our halfcourt offense overall. Giving up 22 turnovers in the game and too many offensive rebounds hurt us.”
East meanwhile wanted to get back on the court after losing that non-conference game to Daniel Boone.
There was a sense of urgency for the Lady Patriots and led by the great defense from Hare, the Lady Patriots were able to pull out a huge league win heading into a showdown at Treadway Gym Friday night against Elizabethton, a team the Lady Pats tested some at the Doc Maples Holiday Hoops Classic before Christmas.
“That Boone game helped us get back on track,” said Hare. “It made us want to come out and play hard. There might have been some doubts about us, but I think people knew we still had it in us.”
Hare led a balanced East attack with 15. Emily Whitaker had 11 and Bailey McGee had 10 to join Johnson in double figures.
Sullivan East 78
Happy Valley 50
The Patriots during the first half of the season looked like the class of the Three Rivers and they did nothing to disspell that on Tuesday night.
East hit nine three pointers with seven of them coming from guard Garet Johnson to lead all scorers with 21 and the Pats cruised to the win.
Johnson hit four threes in the first quarter to give the Patriots a 23-8 lead after one. Happy Valley didn’t quit, even cutting the East lead to single digits in the third quarter before the Pats opened the flood gates again.
“They made nine threes and we made none,” said Happy Valley head coach Chuck Babb. “That’s a hard trade off. It’s not that we don’t have guys who are capable, we are not knocking them down.
“I thought we came back and battled. We didn’t lay down when we got in a hole, but we have to work on not getting in a hole.”
Austin Hicks and Josh Hammonds hit double figures for Happy Valley with 14 and 10, respectively.
Grubb with his 459th assist broke the East career record Tuesday night, a record that was over 30 years old.
Boys Box
Sullivan East 78, Happy Valley 50
Happy Valley (50)
Sams 9, Worley 8, Hammonds 10, Kyte 6, Torbett 2, Hicks 14, Carter 1.
Sullivan East (78)
Grubb 9, Dishner 2, Frye 9, Ellison 1, Garet Johnson 21, Brandon Johnson 2, Kegley 2, Owens 6, Davis 12, Eads 2, Green 12.

Happy Valley   8  19  14  9-50
Sullivan East   23 17 19  19-78
Three Point Goals: Happy Valley 0, Sullivan East 9 (G. Johnson 7, Frye 1, Grubb 1)

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