Lady Cougars best HV

By Jeff Birchfield

   Sullivan Central broke open a close game with two first half spurts to take a 67-46 Watauga Conference win over Happy Valley Thursday night at Bayless Gym.
   With Happy Valley leading 6-5 midway through the first quarter after a pair of Mandy Byrd free throws, Central went on a 14-0 run. After Byrd and Brandi Dugger stemmed the tide with a pair of buckets, the Lady Cougars ran off with another 9-0 run in the second period.
   That 23-point swing gave Central what they needed for the victory.
   "They are a pretty solid team," said Happy Valley head coach Ben Godsey. "They've got five or six girls that can really play and they shot the ball well. They ran their offense really well. I was impressed by them."
   There were plenty of players knocking down shots for the Lady Cougars, led by Kristi Moody with 20 points. She was joined in double figure efforts by teammates Caitie Munal with 16 points, Beth Shelton with 14 and Kayla Vaughn with 11.
   Shelton hurt HV early on, putting up 11 of her points in the first half. Vaughn also was a thorn in the Lady Warriors' side on the boards, pulling down 21 rebounds, only five shy of the entire team total for HV. In addition, the Lady Cougars forced 18 turnovers on the defensive side.
   "All the girls shot real well tonight," said Central head coach Gary Surcey. "Kayla Vaughn did a real good job rebounding tonight. She set a school record with those 21 rebounds. That was really big. She, Beth Shelton, Kristi Moody and Caitie Munal all shot the ball well.
   "Our defense was good. I thought our press worked really well. We stayed intense the whole ball game. We got back from the press and did a good job pressuring shots. They didn't get many easy looks."
   For the Lady Warriors, they got a pair of double figure scoring efforts. Dugger paced them with 15 points, while Terra Whaley added 10. Byrd scored eight and Kortney Goulds put up six in the loss.
   It was a disappointment for the team, coming off a big win over rival Elizabethton two nights earlier.
   "We didn't have the same intensity tonight as we had on Tuesday," said Godsey. "We stood around and watched tonight. We weren't ready to play. It wasn't a good performance to say the least.
   "It's hard to stay focused and stay up. We're only human. You're not going to give that good of an effort every single day. Hopefully, we can come back from this and come back tommorrow."
   Happy Valley, now 5-4 in the conference and 9-8 overall, faces its third league opponent of the week tonight when they travel to Volunteer. Sullivan Central, which evened its league record at 4-4 and is sporting a 9-10 overall mark, also returns to action tonight when it goes to Hampton.