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Happy Valley suffers sweep at hands of Blue Devils

BY ALLEN LAMOUNTAIN
SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
ERWIN – The Happy Valley Warriors gave it a good go in their season opener at Unicoi County, but their late rally fell short as the Blue Devils produced a 59-49 victory on Friday night. HV (0-1 overall, 0-1 conference) rallied to within a point in the fourth period but suffered three consecutive turnovers that Unicoi County turned into seven points and was able to pull away for the win.
“We lost the game in that little four-minute stretch,” Warriors head coach Jeremy Maddox said. “The first 24 minutes we won out of 32 total minutes, but every minute matters.
“I thought our guys played hard and competed on every possession. We have probably had eight practices and what we were able to do with the situation our guys were in, I thought we did a really good job just competing.”
The Blue Devils opened a 13-7 first-quarter lead with sophomore post Lucas Slagle scoring seven of his 12 points in the period.
UC took a 30-19 lead into the intermission with Happy Valley knowing they left points on the court with only 10 shot attempts in the second period and the Warriors turning the ball over 11 times in the first half.
HV tightened up the defensive pressure in the third period and the result was some open shot opportunities with Blake Young stepping up and dropping nine of his game-high 19 points in the stanza and Timmy Mounts connecting on a big three-ball.
HV closed to 42-37 going into the fourth quarter and opened the period with a four-point run to close to within 42-41 after a free throw from Mounts. A lane violation by the Warriors prevented Mounts second free throw from counting and the Devils defense took the initiative over the next few minutes forcing turnovers on three possessions.
Those turnovers saw UC scored seven consecutive points to open a 49-41 lead with under three minutes remaining in regulation. Eli Johnson hit a trey, and Robbie O’Dell followed that with a runner in the paint. Bryson Patterson hit a deuce and Johnson hit a free throw in the run.
“It was ugly at times, on both sides,” Maddox said. “We have to play a little bit cleaner. I thought Timmy played well and he’s our leader out there and he will get a ton of minutes because we don’t have anyone else that can do all the things he does. We probably needed one more guy – we had two guys in double figures – Blake did some really good things for us, but we need a third guy offensively to beat good teams like Unicoi County.”
GIRLS
Unicoi County 47
Happy Valley 26
The Lady Warriors had a poor shooting night hitting just nine-for-31 (29 percent) from the floor overall and hit just two-for-13 (15.3 percent) from three-point range. They also struggled at the charity stripe missing 12 free throws.
Unicoi County started slowly as well with just an 11-8 first period advantage and the Lady Devils held a slender 20-16 halftime lead thanks to 12 first-half points from post Caroline Podvin. Podvin finished with a game-high 20 points.
A 19-3 third period deficit doomed the Lady Warriors as UC built a 39-19 advantage going into the final period with Holly Moore’s trey being the only points HV could muster in the quarter. Moore topped the Warriors with eight points with Kadie Bailey adding six.
For UC Faith Bennett added 11 to the Devils scoring ledger.

GIRLS
Unicoi County 47-26
Happy Valley (26)
H.Moore 8, Blevins 5, M.Moore 2, Absher 5, Bailey 6.
Unicoi Co (47)
Metcalf 5, Holt 2, Rush 5, Podvin 20, Osborne 1, Bennett 11, Griffith 3.

Happy Valley 8 8 3 7 – 26
Unicoi Co. 11 9 19 8 – 47
3-point goals: HV 2 (H.Moore, Blevins), UC 8 (Bennett 3, Podvin 2, Griffith, Rush, Metcalf)

BOYS
Unicoi County 59-49
Happy Valley (49)
Mounts 10, Young 19, Babb 8, Lunceford 9, Murray 3.
Unicoi Co. (59)
T. Johnson 2, Hensley 1, Peterson 9, Clouse 3, O’Dell 14, E. Johnson 9, Swinehart 3, Slagle 12, Barcel 2, Smith 4.

Happy Valley 7 12 18 12 – 49
Unicoi Co 13 17 12 17 – 59
3-point goals: HV 2 (Mounts, Young), UC 3 (E. Johnson 2, O’Dell)