Warriors pair of games very different with the same result

Published 8:00 pm Saturday, February 12, 2022

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ERWIN – With the high school basketball season winding and brackets getting set, the annual rivalry game of Unicoi County and Happy Valley may seem like a break since it isn’t a conference game. But no rivalry is ever a break. The competition level of both game was vastly different, but both ended with the Warriors on the wrong side.
The girls game opened as a tight affair as the two teams traded the lead back and forth. Kadie Bailey would get to the basket and open her scoring account of what would eventually be a game-high 19. Scarlett Zeoli also showed off her range knocking down a three during a series of exchanged treys. Unicoi lead by one heading to the second.
The second quarter was an offensive struggle for the Lady Warriors as they only mustered two points behind Kenzie Ramey. The defense fell apart a touch for Happy Valley as the Lady Blue Devils took a 27-14 lead into halftime.
The third quarter belonged to Happy Valley and specifically Bailey who bagged four triples in the quarter and finished with 14 in the frame. Holly Moore added a basket and the Warriors had pulled the game back to 37-32 going to the fourth.
The last frame was frantic with the Warriors switching to full-court pressure and quickly climbing back into the lead for the first time since the first. Zeoli’s six points were huge before she fouled out. The Blue Devils wouldn’t go away.
A late Marcida Moore basket kept the Lady Warriors in it, but the Blue Devils held on to just edge out comeback-minded Happy Valley, 48-45.
Unicoi Co. …….. 51
Happy Valley …. 37
The boys game tipped with Happy Valley as massive underdogs, but they held their own in the first. After falling behind by six early, the Warriors stormed ahead behind seven straight points from James Murray. The Warriors would continue to push ahead with back-to-back treys from Dakota Grindstaff.
The Blue Devils would rally back and take the lead just before the first ended, 15-13.
The second quarter then began the offensive struggles for the Warriors. They couldn’t buy a basket for the remainder of the game with the rim being unkind.
A three from Grindstaff was all the Warriors could secure in the second as they trailed at the half, 32-16.
For the Warriors, things didn’t get much better in the second half as Murphy’s Law seemed to be at full regalia for Happy Valley.
Despite the struggles, the Warriors continued to fight as evident by a Landon Babb fourth-quarter block.
Babb also added four points in the quarter as Happy Valley showed their heart. A trio of late threes from Cole Deakins was also a bright spot. Even still, the Warriors fell short, 51-37.

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