Lady Warriors fall to North in overtime

By Jeff Birchfield
STAR Staff
jbirchfield@starhq.com

   KINGSPORT--Despite having momentum from Kortney Goulds' three-point shot with 11 seconds left that sent the game into overtime, Happy Valley came up short in a 57-49 loss to Sullivan North in girls' basketball action on Friday night.
   "That was a huge shot," said Lady Warrior head basketball coach Ben Godsey. "We called timeout and were down by three. Our strategy was to put the three up and crash the boards to get the rebound if it missed. But, she nailed it and it was huge. We just didn't do the things we needed to, to win. We made some silly plays and costly turnovers in overtime."
   While Goulds' shot to force the extra play mode was money in the bank, key turnovers that Godsey alluded to in the overtime period and bulls-eye free throw shooting gave the Lady Raiders the win. North converted on 23 of their 29 attempts at the charity stripe in the contest.
   "Free throw shooting was super," said North head coach Bill Armstrong. "That's pretty strong. That was a good night from the free throw line. That's two overtime games we have won this year. Happy Valley has a good quick basketball team and that makes it a good win for us.
   "The trapping is excellent on that basketball team. We got hurt low when their big girl posted up inside, but then we fronted her and got some turnovers. We did a good job rotating players in and out."
   The Lady Warriors also had to contend with a balanced scoring attack from all five North starters. Peaking with Courtney Ramey's 19 points, the Lady Raiders also got 11 from Traci Bernard, 10 from Lindsay Collins, 9 from Kristen Hughes and 8 from point guard Amanda Frazier.
   After trailing 6-5 at the end of the first quarter, Happy Valley took the lead early in the second quarter on two Terra Whaley foul shots. However, scores by Hughes late in the half allowed North to regain the lead and take a 22-14 lead into the locker room.
   "The first half buried us," said Godsey. "We weren't knocking down shots offensively. We only hit four of 20 shots in the first half. That hurt us. They outplayed us in the first half. We weren't ready to play and I don't know why. We had a good practice yesterday, but it didn't equate in the first half.
   "We made a good comeback in the second half and finally made it a good basketball game."
   The third quarter saw a game of spurts as the Lady Warriors turned up the defensive intensity using a 2-2-1 trap. They reeled off 11 straight points, starting with a couple of put back baskets by Crystal Nave and ending when
   Brandi Dugger sank a three-pointer. After going up by five on a bucket by Kate Powell and Whaley following her own shot, it was North's turn to make a run.
   The Raiders scored 10 straight points, three baskets courtesy of Ramey and Frazier throwing a 3-pointer in at the end of the third quarter to turn the advantage back to North.
   "We had an eight-point lead at the half and they came out and hammered us," said Armstrong. "They did a super job in the pressure defense getting back in it. They got up by five and that was really tough. It shows a tremendous amount of character to be able to do that. Overall, I'm very pleased to get the win."
   The pendulum swung back and forth over the final period with HV first looking to have control after going on an 8-0 run to take a 39-37 lead. Then North appeared to have the game in hand, as Ramey tied the game and then Frazier made three of four free throws to give the Raiders a 44-41 lead with only 18 seconds on the clock.
   That's when Goulds made her clutch basket. In the overtime period, the Lady Warriors got behind after a walking violation and a misfired pass and were never able to recover.
   The inside duo of Whaley and Nave led the team in scoring with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Dugger and Goulds each had seven, while Whitney Crowe scored five. Mandy Byrd and Powell each made baskets to round out the boxscore.
   The Lady Warriors fell to 3-2 in the Watauga Conference with the loss and 7-6 overall. They will face a real challenge keeping both marks on the winning column next Tuesday night, when they face league leading Unicoi County. North improved to 2-2 in league play with the win and boosted their overall mark to 4-9 on the season.