Happy Valley sweeps past Unaka in non-conference clash

Published 1:05 pm Thursday, January 4, 2024

STAR CORRESPONDENT

Before returning to school from the Christmas break, the Happy Valley Warriors hosted Unaka in a non-conference basketball clash on Tuesday night at Bayless Gymnasium. In boys action the Warriors got 24 points from freshman Darian Jackson in a 73-70 win over the Rangers.

On the girls side the Lady Warriors scored a 44-37 victory behind 14 points from senior Marcida Moore.

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Unaka had taken a 39-34 halftime advantage but the Warriors (4-10 overall) rallied in the second half with Jackson scoring 18 second-half points.

“He’s a ball player,” said Warriors head coach Shane Williams of Jackson. “I am waiting for him to be a complete player by making everyone around him better. When he does that we will have a really good player.”

The Warriors took a 53-51 advantage into the fourth quarter and a dog fight ensued in the final stanza. Marcus Shomaker opened the fourth period with a deuce that was answered by Jackson, and at the 4:23 mark, HV took a 61-58 lead.

Jackson Deyton had an offensive rebound put back for Unaka but A.J. Campbell dropped in a trey for a 64-60 Warriors lead. A Jackson layup gave HV a 67-62 lead at the 2:16 mark of regulation and T.J. Good added a pair of free throws to give the Warriors a 69-62 lead.

Mason Wilson canned three free throws to make it a 69-67 game and after two free throws from Jackson, Wilson dropped in a triple to make it a 71-70 contest with 40.1 ticks left on the clock.

Wilson finished with a team-high 23 points for Unaka with Shomaker adding 15 points and 12 rebounds. For HV, Campbell scored 16 points with Dakota Grindstaff adding 14 points and Good finished with 13 points.

“A.J. stepped up and hit some threes,” Williams said. “I thought everyone contributed. We had some guys on the razor edge foul wise, but we managed not to foul out. Unaka is a tough, physical team with size and they used high post and low post and this was a big time battle between county foes that know each other well. I need to get used to these rivalry games.”

BOYS

Happy Valley 73-70

Unaka (70)

McKinney 2, Wilson 23, Crabtree 4, Lewis 9, Shomaker 15, Walsh 5, Deyton 7, Hardin 5.

Happy Valley (73)

Jackson 24, Furr 4, Good 13, Campbell 16, Grindstaff 14, Nickles 2.

Unaka 17 22 12 19 – 70

Happy Valley 17 17 19 20 – 73

3-point goals: U 6 (Wilson 5, Lewis 1), HV 9 (Campbell 5, Grindstaff 4)

GIRLS

Happy Valley 44, Unaka 37

Unaka took a 21-15 halftime lead behind nine points from guard Lauren Lund but the Lady Warriors (7-5 overall) outscored the Lady Rangers 29-16 in the second half with Moore scoring eight of her game-high 14 points in the second half.

The game was knotted at 29-29 after three quarters and Kaitlyn Dugger scored a deuce to open the fourth period. Brianna Nickles dropped in a three-ball and after a deuce from Dugger, she nailed another trey to stake HV to a 35-33 advantage with 5:51 remaining.

“That was pretty big for a freshman,” Lady Warriors head coach Dana Hill said of Nickles. “The Rangers sagged off Marcida but she got a little hot in the fourth quarter. At the half, I challenged Marcida to take over and she stepped up. We worked a lot over the Christmas break on contesting shots and rebounding.”

Senior guard Cayden Anderson hit all six of her fourth period free throws to keep Unaka at bay and she finished with 11 points along with Nickles. Dugger and Lund each had nine points to lead the way for the Rangers with Alisha Harrell adding eight points.

GIRLS

Happy Valley 44-37

Unaka (37)

Lund 9, Douglas 3, H. Taylor 3, Harrell 8, Dugger 9, Hague 5.

Happy Valley (44)

Nickles 11, Anderson 11, M. Moore 14, Sommers 2, Zeoli 4, Skeens 2.

Unaka 5 16 8 8 – 37

Happy Valley 7 8 14 15 – 44

3-point goals: U 5 (Lund 3, Douglas 1, Harrell 1), HV 4 (Nickles 3, Zeoli 1)