Lady Buffs upended by King College

By Matt Hill

   BRISTOL -- A geography major probably would have been out of place at the King Lady Tornado-Milligan Lady Buffalo game Tuesday night. That's because most of the players were from one area.
   That place was Carter County, and four players from each squad represented the area in a game King won 63-50 at Kline Gymnasium.
   Milligan features former Hampton standouts Ginny White, Miranda Greene and Amanda Greene, as well as former Happy Valley star Lacy York.
   King has former Cloudland star Ashley Stocton, Unaka standouts Bobbie Blevins and Larissa Holtsclaw, and Hampton's Amber Farmer on its roster.
   "It was like a Carter County reunion out there tonight," Blevins said. "We've all played against each other since youth club, so it was really fun to get back and play with each other again even if it was a different team.
   It was also fun for Stocton. Cloudland and Hampton have been among the cream of the crop in local high school basketball for the past few years, but Hampton won most of the meetings during Stocton's tenure at Cloudland.
   It was Stocton going up against White and the Greene's again, but the former Lady 'Lander got the upper hand this time.
   "We were really excited tonight about getting to play them again," Stocton said. "We knew it was Carter County rivals once again. It was good tonight."
   Milligan head coach Rich Aubrey thought it was a great night for Carter County.
   "A bunch of kids from Carter County out there," Aubrey said. "It was a good basketball game. I thought they played very, very well. I wish we had put ourselves in a better situation, but hats off to them. I thought they played awfully well. "
   King shot 57 percent in the first half en route to taking a 35-18 lead at the intermission.
   King built a 48-28 advantage with 13:12 to go, but the Lady Tornado went almost seven minutes without a field goal. Milligan was able to cut King's advantage down to 51-41, but a 6-0 run by the Lady Tornado was all it needed to take the victory.
   Aubrey was pleased with Milligan's second half performance.
   "We played much better in the second half, and with a whole lot more intensity. We put ourselves in a position where we had to hit almost every shot and get almost every rebound, and obviously we weren't able to do that."
   Amanda Hammons led Milligan with 12 points, while Nicky Jessen and Vera Conkin each scored 11 for the Lady Buffaloes.
   Rebekah Wilson scored 19 for King, while Jennifer Testa netted 16 for the Lady Tornado.
   But this night still belonged to the Carter County players. All four of Milligan's Carter County squad members saw action, with White and the Greene's all at least part-time starters for Aubrey.
   Amanda Greene topped Milligan's Carter County contingent by scoring eight points.
   "Those three have started most of our games this year," Aubrey said. "They've done very well for us. All three of them have had good years. With that many Carter County kids out there on the floor tonight, you saw that there's some pretty good basketball in Carter County. I thought all those kids represented themselves well tonight.
   Aubrey is also very high on York.
   "She's had a solid freshman year," Aubrey said. "We're pleased with her progress as well,"
   As for King, Blevins poured in 11 points on the evening.
   "Bobbie had a great game tonight," King head coach Brad Horstmann said. "She took care of the basketball on the offensive end of the floor. I thought it was one of her better games of the year."
   Stocton also shined in this one, as she came down with nine boards.
   "That's one thing we work on in practice a lot," Stocton said. "We're always doing drills for that, and I know that's one of my roles."
   The Lady Buffaloes will be back in action Thursday night at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse against Alice Lloyd.
   King 76
   Milligan 53
   Milligan led 5-4 in the opening stages of the game, but after that it was all King.
   King led 38-24 at halftime, and Milligan never got any closer than 13 points in the second half.
   Milligan head coach Tony Wallingford had nothing but praise for King.
   "They played very well," Wallingford said. "They executed well. They took advantage of every breakdown we had, and we had a ton of them. They found the open man, and they shot it well."
   King shot 57 percent for the game, compared to 38 percent for Milligan.
   Milligan was out-rebounded 39-23, and King scored a lot of its points in the paint.
   "Anytime you get the ball down low, you're not going to be very effective," Wallingford said. "You're either going to foul, or they're going to score. We've got to back up and take a look at that, and see how we can correct that."
   Dusan Vusen topped King with 19 points, while John Sproles poured in 13 for the Tornado.
   Lance Ashby and Craig Emmert each had 13 for Milligan.
   King improves to 10-13 overall, and 7-4 in Appalachian Athletic Conference play, while Milligan drops to 8-11 overall, and 4-7 in league games.