Greene Devils double Warrior output

By Jeff Birchfield
STAR Staff

   Led by the tandem of Bradley Blair and Matt Malone, Greeneville doubled Happy Valley's scoring output winning by a score of 70-35 at Bayless Gymnasium on Friday night.
   The Greene Devils (11-3) let it be known they meant business early with a 9-0 run to start the contest. After the Warriors closed to 11-6 after an Andrew Bowman bank shot, Greeneville reeled off another nine straight to firmly grasp the lead. At the half, they were up 33-10 and continued building on that advantage in the second half.
   "We knew coming in here we had to beat them," said Green Devil head coach Bill Duncan. "We played good team defense. We wanted to keep them out of that
   Warrior, that patient offense. They can keep a game close by tempo. I thought we did a pretty good and I was proud of them."
   For Happy Valley, their woes could be traced to shooting 33 percent from the field, including only hitting 2-of-11 three-point attempts. They also matched a dubious statistic from the Elizabethton game the night before with 22 turnovers.
   "They're a pretty good ball team," said Warrior head coach Charlie Bayless about the Devils. "They're big and their big men move real good. Their big boy shoots good left handed and he had about five blocked shots.
   "We didn't do much of anything. We got 17 rebounds, that was all we got. We kept turning the ball over and we only hit 2-for-11 on the three-point baskets. Our shooting is killing us. They did a good job trapping us. They trapped us more than Elizabethton did."
   As for the Green Devils, the blowout was what they needed after a couple of heartbreaking losses to Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett. They got a stellar effort from Bradley Blair with 19 points and 6-10 center Matt Malone, who scored 18.
   "It was nice to regroup after losing a couple back-to-back like that," said Duncan. "Those games kind of rattled our cage a little bit. Chris Poore on our team averages about 18 per game, but he didn't get the ball like he usually does.
   "Blair is a coach's son and he's really developed. If teams worry too much about Matt Malone, he will hurt them. Matt's a complete player. He could average about 35 a night if he wanted to, but he averages about 17 and 10 rebounds and almost seven assists a game. He's so unselfish is what makes him what he is."
   Andrew Shumate with 14 points and Poore with 10 also hit double figures for the Devils.
   Happy Valley found out early they would be up for a long evening, according to senior forward Jeremy Maddox, who echoed much of the head coach's themes.
   "They're pretty good," commented Maddox. "We just have to settle down and shoot the ball better and rebound. I sure hope that things get a little better when we play some of the teams coming up. These last two nights were probably the two best teams we will play all year.
   "Shooting and rebounding are critical. Shooting has plagued us all year, that and turning the ball over too much. We have to knock down the three-point shot when we have the opportunity. That's what we really need to do."
   The Warriors were led in scoring by Bowman with 13 points, while Tim Whaley had 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Jordy Harrison with 4, Drew Davis with 3 and Cody Whitlock and Stephen Williams with two apiece rounded out the point production for HV, who fell to 2-11 on the season.
   If there has been a bright spot so far this season, it is Happy Valley's performance at the charity stripe. Led by Bowman going a perfect 7-for-7 at the line, they converted on 11-of-16 free throws as a team.
   "We've hit our foul shots pretty good," said Bayless. "Thank goodness for them last night or we probably wouldn't have scored 20 points against Elizabethton."
   In a preliminary JV contest, things went much better for the Warriors. Down 30-24 going into the final quarter, they started the fourth quarter with an 18-0 run to win 42-34 over the Green Devil JV squad. Alex Carroll paced HV with 14 points and John Bulla added 12 in the winning effort.
   The varsity will now hope to get back on the winning track on Tuesday, when they host Watauga Conference rival Volunteer.