Lady Warriors trump Sullivan North, 66-32

Published 11:03 pm Tuesday, February 16, 2016

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The Lady Warriors ended their regular-season on a high note Tuesday night inside J. Richard Carroll Gymnasium.

Behind a 24-point game by senior Kalee Johnson, Happy Valley picked up a 66-32 win over the Golden Lady Raiders for its second straight Three Rivers Conference win after defeating Unicoi on Saturday.

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The back-to-back wins will give the Lady Warriors a momentum boost as they head into the District 1-AA tournament on Thursday, said Happy Valley coach Larry Abel.

“Its always good to go into the tournament off a good note,” he said. “We accomplished a 21-win season. It is back-to-back 20-win seasons for us. But that doesn’t mean anything at tournament time. We have to win to keep going.”

Happy Valley’s Makayla Johnson had a banner night as she recorded a career-high nine points for the Lady Warriors.

“Makayla was aggressive on the boards,” Abel said. “She had a good night running the floor and transitioning.”

Coming out of the first quarter, the Lady Warriors led Sullivan North by six. Happy Valley picked things up in the second frame as it conducted a 9-4 run to jump out to a 14-point edge. After three free throws from the Lady Golden Raiders, the Lady Warriors headed into halftime up 29-18. Happy Valley’s Makayla Frazier provided five in points in the second, three of which was the result of a bucket-and-one.

After regrouping in the locker room, the Lady Warriors came out with more intensity. Johnson provided six points to a 12-2 drive that gave the Lady Warriors a 21-point lead with 2:25 left in the third. Down the one-minute stretch in the third quarter, Happy Valley posted eight points, four of which came from Haley Green going 4 of 4 from the charity stripe to give the Lady Warriors a 49-25 lead heading to the fourth.

“We talked about intensity and effort during halftime,” Abel said. “You have to come and get after it. In the first half, the older kids weren’t stepping up. In the second half they did a better job.

“We preach all the time that you get better with practice,” Abel added. “We talked about competition level and how the young ones had out played the older ones, and that is why they got the first shot tonight.”

Also in the third, Happy Valley post Brianna Buck caused the Warriors fans to get loud by swatting away back-to-back shots by the Lady Raiders. Buck ended the game with five blocks.

Johnson opened up the final frame by hitting four-straight foul shot after a foul and a technical by Sullivan North. Johnson went 10 of 10 from the chairty stripe. The Lady Warriors out paced Sullivan North 17-7. Adrienne Heneger provided a trey in the quarter, while Sydney Puckett, Kaitlin Depriest, Fraizer, and Tiana Long all provided buckets.

Seeded in third, the Lady Warriors will take on Sullivan South Thursday during round one of the District 1-AA Tournament.

“We are positioned well,” Abel said. “We have been competitive in the conference this season. We just have to step it up and get that first win.”