Lady Warriors second half rally falls short to Pats, Warriors fall to East fourth quarter blitz

Published 11:39 pm Friday, January 29, 2016


With everyone in the Three Rivers Conference seemingly playing for second place behind Elizabethton, the Happy Valley Lady Warriors clashed with Sullivan East with second place on the line on Friday night at Bayless gym.

The Lady Patriots (18-7, 7-1 TRC) started hot, forcing four early HV turnovers in taking a 10-2 lead with 5:26 left in the first period. Forward Kara Stafford hit a pair of deuces and post Alyssa Hare hit a trey before senior forward Kalee Johnson completed a three-point play to cut the lead to 10-5.

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Sophomore forward Megan Ollis hit back-to-back buckets and senior guard Brandy Watkins knocked down a three-ball. Baylee McGee answered with a deuce for the Lady Warriors, but the Patriots pressure saw HV commit six turnovers as East took a 22-11 first period lead.

East took a 13 point advantage in the second period after a steal and bucket from Watkins and a trey from Stafford as the Patriots now led 33-20. A trey from Emily Whitaker cut the deficit to nine, but Stafford responded with a deuce at the other end for a 40-29 Patriots lead.

Stafford and Watkins each scored 15 points in the first half for Sullivan East as the Pats owned a 43-31 advantage. The Pats connected on six three-pointers to just two for HV. The Warriors cut the East lead to 10 at 48-38 as Johnson dropped in a pair of buckets and the HV defense forced four turnovers.

“We gave up 15 points each to Stafford and Watkins in the first half,” Lady Warriors head coach Larry Abel said. “They were getting points on drives, but in the second half we changed up defenses and kept them off balance a little bit.”

Charli Bare and Johnson hit back-to-back deuces as the Warriors (17-7, 5-3 TRC) cut the deficit to 48-42 with 2:51 left in the third quarter. Bare then had a putback basket off a Johnson miss and the Pats lead had shrunk to four.

“We picked up the defensive pressure,” Johnson said. “We didn’t want to lose this one on our home court. It would have felt a whole lot better to pull it off, but we are shooting for another home game in the regional.”

The 13-5 HV run was halted temporarily by a free throw from Watkins, but Johnson hit a left handed bank shot and the score now stood 49-46 with just under a minute left in the stanza. Another bucket in the paint by Bare made it a one point game, but Caitlyn Stewart knocked down a trey from the corner to send East into the final period with a 52-48 lead.

Ollis scored a basket for East as the fourth period began but McGee answered for HV and after a bucket from Johnson the score stood 56-52 in favor of East. The Warriors cut the lead to 60-57 on a basket from McGee and a basket from Johnson made it a 60-59 contest but a clutch three-pointer from Hare pushed the Pats lead to 63-59.

McGee – who finished with nine points on the night – hit a trey with 49 seconds left to shave the Patriots lead to 65-64 forcing a timeout from East. A steal by Whitaker and subsequent free throws brought the crowd to it’s feet and gave HV its first lead of the game at 66-65 with just nine seconds on the clock.

Stewart worked herself free in front of the teams bench and fired a three-ball that hit nothing but net with three ticks left. HV inbounded to Johnson who’s three quarter court shot struck the backboard but just missed the mark. Johnson finished with a game high 27 points while Stafford led East with 21.


Sullivan East 82, Happy Valley 72

Emotion can carry you a long way in sports and on Senior Night it was on the side of Happy Valley, especially senior guard Josh Hammonds. Hammonds connected on four trey’s and scored 16 first  half points as the Warriors played a terrific game but fell in the fourth quarter 82-72.

“We played with some emotion and intensity,” Warriors head coach Chuck Babb said. “I thought our effort was outstanding and I am really proud of how hard they played. I thought we played well under tough conditions which is hard to do and I don’t  think we had a ton of turnovers.”

Junior post Cole Green matched Hammonds in the first half and guard Gavin Grubb tossed in 15 points as the Patriots led 43-39 after the first half. A fast paced contest saw East go ahead 23-19 in the first period despite three consecutive triples from Hammonds, as Grubb, Green and Aaron Frye each struck for the Pats.

The second period was a 20-20 stalemate with Green hitting five-of-five from the line and sophomore guard Braeden Sams along with Hammonds each firing in a three-ball.

The fourth period started with a deuce from Grubb who finished with a game high 35 points, followed by a bucket from Hammonds as HV kept it a two point game. Green then completed a three-point play that started a 12-0 Patriots run that saw the lead balloon to 75-61 with 4:51 left in regulation.

The Warriors (13-8, 2-6 TRC) did not roll over however, going on an 8-2 run to close the gap to 77-67 with 2:56 left. The Warriors closed to 78-72 at the 1:08 mark after Chris Young hit one-of-two from the line. Grubb closed things out at the charity stripe with three-of-four.

Green finished with 25 points for East while Hammonds led the Warriors with 23 points.

“It was senior night and the last time these fans would get to see my class on this floor,” Hammonds said. “It wasn’t really much different that any game. I wanted to leave everything on the floor. East is a great team and they turned it up in the second half. We are excited about moving forward and getting Nathan Kyte back.”


Sullivan East 68-66

Sullivan East (68)

Addison 2, Stafford 21, Watkins 19, Stewart 6, Hare 7, Ollis 10, Honaker 3.

Happy Valley (66)

Davis 6, McGee 9, Whitaker 7, Johnson 27, Bare 15, Puckett 2.

Sullivan East 22 21 9 16 – 68

Happy Valley 11 20 17 18 – 66

3-point goals : SE 8- 11 (Stafford 1-1, Watkins 3-4, Stewart 2-3, Hare 1-1, Ollis 0-1, Honaker 1- 1), HV 3-9 (Davis 1-3, McGee 1-1, Whitaker 1-4, Roberts 0-1)


Sullivan East 82-72

Sullivan East (82)

Grubb 35, Johnson 9, Owens 2, Davis 2, Green 25, Frye 8.

Happy Valley (72)

Young 12, Hammonds 23, Torbett 4, Hicks 16, Barlow 5, Sams 11, Camargo 1.

Sullivan East 23 20 18 21 – 82

Happy Valley 19 20 20 13 – 72

3-point goals : SE 5- 13 (Grubb 1-5, Owens 0-2,Green 3-3, Frye 1-3), HV 6- 18 (Hammonds 5- 12, Barlow 0-1, Blevins 0-2, Sams 1-3)