Lady Warriors hogtie Lady Cyclones down stretch, 55-43

Published 12:58 pm Monday, December 17, 2018

When the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones and Happy Valley Lady Warriors met on the hardwood inside Charlie Bayless Gymnasium, it was a contest that both teams desperately wanted to win and not just because of the rivalry between the two programs.

Each wanted to secure a conference win and hopefully momentum heading into the Christmas break from a league perspective.

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Neither team could gain a foothold to late when Happy Valley finally got uncorked.

Tight basketball for three quarters

Each team seemed to struggle to get the ball to fall through the hoop as a proverbial lid appeared to be on the basket at both ends of the court.

Elizabethton lead 12-11 at the end of the first quarter, the game was tied at 23-all at halftime and the pair played to a dead-even 8-8 third quarter to put the game fully weighing in the balance for the final eight minutes of action.

A senior shall lead them

Lady Warrior senior Adrienne Henegar has been in her fair share of battles over her high school career so with the game on the line, there was no better player to go to than the 1,000-point plus scoring and Henegar answered the bell.

Scoring 9 of her teams 24 points in the fourth quarter, the Lady Warriors leaned on their leader to show the way to victory.

Henegar finished with 18 points in the contest.

Feed the beast

There is not a team around that would love to have a player like Shalyn Whitson on their team if for nothing else than the sheer presence that she brings to the game.

After a great summer according to Lady Warrior head coach Thomas Gouge, Whitson showed why she is a beast to deal with for any team hitting on turnaround jumpers or taking it to the rim as the junior poured in a game-high 21 points to lead all scorers.

Whitson also added 7 points in the decisive eight minutes of play as she and Henegar were the decisive factors in the contest.

Needing post relief

With the Lady Cyclones in dire need of some post help, they may have gotten a ray of sunshine on Friday morning as Morgan Headrick was cleared to return to practice and play.

Without the true presence of an inside player, the Lady Warriors used that to their advantage with the height advantage of Whitson and Tiana Long.

By the numbers

Aside from Henegar and Whitson, the Lady Warriors received scoring from Olivia Absher (9) and Long (7) with Long scoring all her points in the final quarter.

Elizabethton was paced by Kaylen Shell with 13 points while Abbey Townsend added 7 points.

Other Lady Cyclones reaching the scoring column included McKendra Norris (6), Cheyenne VanHuss (6), Kelsie Winters (5), Torrie Roberts (4), and Cassey Fowler (2).

Lady Warrior’s Chief speaks

“The first half was a little sluggish and we had a lot of unforced turnovers,” said Gouge. “We regrouped at halftime and got down by four in the third but from there we responded well to get the victory.

“Our game plan was to play off Shay Whitson in the post. She is a tough player and a tough post player so we tried to kick it in anytime we could.

“We got about 4 or 5 good stops and started feeding it inside and once we did that, we got it tied up and got into our press and forced some turnovers,” Gouge continued. “We got up 6 or 7 points and from there just finished strong.”

Going through the offensive blahs

“I thought that we missed a lot at the rim, but that gives credit to them,” said Lady Cyclone head coach Lucas Andrews. “They have some good post players and are very disciplined on how they play defense.

“We just have to learn to put it in the hole when we are that close. A tough game like this is physical so you have to take the hit and make the shot. They did exactly what I would have done to us.”

Next up on the hardwood

The Lady Warriors play host to Cloudland on Monday and Hampton next Saturday in two county non-conference contests. The Lady Cyclones travel to Union, Virginia next Friday night for non-conference play as well.