Jr Warriors prevail over 'Dogs

By Marvin Birchfield

   The Happy Valley Jr. Warriors knocked off Hampton in the District tournament, after exploding in the second-half to grab a 41-36 victory.
   The Warriors trailed early in the third period, but a 12-0 run proved to be enough for Happy Valley to advance to the championship round.
   "I thought in spurts we played really well, but at other times we let the pressure get to us and started to panic, but in the third quarter we did the things we needed to do," said Happy Valley Jr. High coach Rick Anderson.
   Happy Valley grabbed a 9-8 advantage in the first period of play, but Hampton battled back to acquire a one-point margin heading into the half.
   "I thought we hurt ourselves in the first-half by giving up a couple of easy baskets, but I'm proud of this team for we started the season 0-9, and this was our first loss since Christmas," said Hampton Jr. High coach Leon Tolley.
   Brandon McCloud was the only Warrior player to score in the second period, as he had five-points and ended up with 13 on the night to lead Happy Valley.
   The 'Dogs were led by Josh Irick in the first-half, as he poured in six points, along with Jonathan Lyons who added five.
   Two free-throws from Lyons in the third quarter was all the points that Hampton came up with, but the Warriors broke out middle ways through the period to take a 26-17 lead.
   "We practice on everything they do, and then they threw the half-court trap at us and we were rattled for about three minutes in the second-half," Leon Tolley.
   The run started off with a bucket from Tony Carr down-low, then back to back field-goals from Logan Loveless fired up the Warrior squad.
   "Logan Loveless and Frank Donoho came off the bench during that spurt and it really helped us, for we struggled in the first-half, but started to play like we're capable of," said Anderson.
   Happy Valley was having success beating the press in the closing minutes of the third period, as Brandon McCloud scored inside from passes by Daniel Shankle.
   The lead increased to as many as 16 in the fourth quarter, after Frank Donoho connected down-low drawing the foul, along with Brandon Whitehead who sank two free-throws.
   Hampton wasn't about to quit though, as they outscored Happy Valley 14-2 in the closing minutes of the contest.
   Dustin Jaynes poured in eight scores in the final period to finish with ten-points, and Irick ended up with eleven.
   Happy Valley 54
   Unaka 45
   It was a third quarter domination by Happy Valley's Freshman team, which propelled them in a 54-45 final over Unaka to remain undefeated on the season.
   The Warriors were 7-0 coming into the contest, and looked to improve over a tough battling Ranger club.
   "We struggled for we didn't pass the ball well tonight, and our defense was ferocious in the first-half, but one thing I can say about these guys is they don't panic," said Happy Valley Freshman coach Chuck Babb.
   Unaka enjoyed a 10-8 lead after the first period, when Tee Blevins scored inside, and Josh Lowe hit two shots from the free-throw line.
   The Warriors trailed by seven points with five minutes left in the half, but Greg Swafford stepped up to rattle off ten straight scores to give Happy Valley a slim advantage.
   Hampton went up by two with under ten seconds left in the half, but Chris Rutledge managed to drive down court and nail a three at the buzzer, making it 29-28 in favor of the Warriors.
   "We get careless for we see what we can accomplish, and then decide we're going to cruise a little bit and forget what our roles are," said Unaka Freshman coach John Ensor.
   Happy Valley came out in the second-half to grab a ten-point advantage by the end of the third period.
   It was good defense by Rick Morgan, which produced the first two baskets of the third quarter.
   The Warriors were capitalizing off the Rangers mistakes, and despite poor shooting on the inside they were still able to gain control of the contest.
   "We can't get any easier shots than we were getting, and we've got to have better play by our post for we our strictly perimeter oriented," said Babb.
   Happy Valley continued to hold off Unaka in the final period, as the Rangers were unsuccessful in cutting into the lead.
   Rutledge finished with 21 points on the night, while Josh Lowe poured in eleven for the Rangers.
   "We got beat on the boards, for they shoot until they make it, and we get one shot, which enabled them to run on us,"