Lady Warriors take measure of E-town

By ALLEN LaMOUNTAIN

ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
awlamountain@starhq.com

   Lady Warrior guard Brandi Dugger scored a game-high 23 points as Happy Valley made a statement in defending their home court Tuesday night, handing Elizabethton a 54-49 Watauga Conference setback.
   EHS on the other hand has to try and figure out why they only play with a sense of urgency in the second half.
   Dugger slashed her way to the basket time and again as she took over the game in the fourth period.
   "I felt like I could take it to the basket on them," said Dugger. "This is a huge win for us. It could be a season changing kind of game."
   Happy Valley improved to 5-3 in Watauga Conference play and now stand 9-7 overall. Betsy fell to (7-3 WC, 11-5 overall) with the loss.
   "They have to figure it out, because I can't," said Lady Cyclones' head coach Mike Wilson. "That is what has let us down for four straight games now. We have started out getting behind in the first half. Some girls need to do some soul-searching. Compare effort in the first half to the second half and there is no comparison."
   The Lady Warriors opened the second period with an 11-4 run to take a 19-12 advantage after a bucket by Kortney Goulds. Valneesha Redd's deuce cut the HV lead to 21-16 at the break, but the Lady Warriors were clearly in the game to stay.
   "We played hard for four quarters and that made a big difference." Said Lady Warriors head coach Ben Godsey. "They took some momentum away from us late in the game, but we stepped up and made our free throws."
   EHS cut the Warriors advantage by a point going into the final stanza with senior forward Lacy Lane kicking in six points during a nine-to-nothing Betsy run that saw the Lady Cyclones clip a 10-point HV lead to a single digit at 26-25 at the 2:50 mark of the third period.
   Happy Valley went into the final period now clinging to a 30-27 lead, but back-to-back scores by Dugger and Crystal Nave gave the Warriors a 34-27 advantage. Another bucket by Lane stopped the bleeding momentarily for EHS, but back came the Warriors as Nave scored again and Dugger hit two-for-two from the charity stripe to make it a 39-29 HV lead.
   Lane hit a pair from the free throw line and another hoop before a steal and basket by Sarah Smith tied the game at 47-47 with 56 seconds left in the contest.
   "If you want to score on us just drive to the basket," said Wilson. "I would have thought that we would have figured out that you can't just come out and play in the second half, and I told the team that 'If you don't come out and play hard in the first half you won't win.'"