Turnovers lead to Warriors' demise

By Jeff Birchfield

STAR Staff

   In business, a high turnover ratio means the constant replacement of workers. In basketball, it usually guarantees you a loss.
   Thursday night at Bayless Gym, 23 offensive turnovers by Happy Valley was a key factor in a 64-39 loss to Sullivan Central.
   "Yeah, it was bad," said Happy Valley head coach Charlie Bayless. "We had 25 turnovers against Elizabethton. We just make terrible mistakes passing. We broke the press good, but when we get half-court, we just can't handle the basketball.
   "We stand there and hold it until somebody is covering us. You have to throw the ball like a quarterback. You have to give a man a lead on it and get rid the ball because they are going to trap you. It's the same way it was against Elizabethton. We would hold the ball too long."
   When the Warriors weren't self-destructing, Central was punishing them with big Matt Dunford inside. The 6-5 center scored nine points in the first quarter, before a final tally of 19 on the evening.
   John LeSueur was also hard for the HV defense to contain. The senior guard scored 12 points and dished out five assists in the Cougar win. Central also got nine points from Chris Martin. Martin scored all of his points in a two-minute span in the second quarter, knocking down a trio of shots behind the three-point line.
   "I thought Dunford played really well in the first half," said Central head coach Tony Vaughn. "We also got a big lift from Matt Frye coming off the bench and from Chris Martin when he got hot and hit those threes.
   "John played good defense. He got his hand on four or five passes and forced them to make some bad throws. He didn't shoot the ball that well, but he made up for it with some good passes."
   Happy Valley after trailing 38-13 late in the second period, finally showed some life in the second half with the inside play of Jordy Harrison and Tim Whaley.
   Harrison had eight points and seven rebounds on the night, while Whaley continued to be the top inside force for the Tribe, leading the team with 18 points and also grabbing seven boards.
   Andrew Bowman and Cody Whitlock each added four points in the loss.
   The Cougars are now 7-1 in the Watauga Conference and have racked up an impressive overall mark of 17-2.
   "Twenty-three turnovers was a good number for us," stated Vaughn. "We will take 23 anytime, but, I still think we can play better defense. The main thing is this is a tough place to play on the road and it was nice to get the win."
   Happy Valley fell to 3-6 in league play with a 4-15 overall record. They will try to get back on the winning side tonight when they visit Volunteer. The Warriors are cautiously optimistic entering the game as they only lost 38-36 to the Falcons, four weeks ago.
   "They're tough, but we gave them a good game here," said Bayless. "They'e got a good ball club. They got beat the other night by Sullivan North, so they are going to be mad.
   "But, you've always got a chance to win. It's like playing Elizabethon. Maybe we will be up for it. If not, we're going to get killed. If we play them close, maybe we can do something. But, if we play like tonight we're going to get killed. We have a long ways to go."