Lady Warriors stifled by UC

Photo by Rick Harris
Meghan Headley, Kellye Lingerfelt sandwich Happy Valley's Brandi Dugger with a double team.

By Jeff Birchfield
ERWIN -- "Dee-fense, dee-fense."
Unicoi County's defense clamped down on Happy Valley in a 47-23 Watauga Conference win over the Lady Warriors on Friday night.
The numbers told the story with HV committing 21 turnovers and hitting only 8-of-29 shots from the floor.
"I was real pleased with our defense," said UC head coach Glenn Fisher. "We've struggled on offense the last three weeks and I feel that our defense has carried us through. It was a real battle for a while. I thought they played good defense.
"We made some shots, got some separation and that was the difference. For whatever reason the first part of the season, we scored early and often. The last three weeks we've had the situation where we're just not making shots."
As mentioned by Fisher, the Lady Warriors played strong defense as well. Midway through the third period, they only trailed by a score of 22-14. They had limited the scoring to only three Lady Devil players at that point.
"They're tough," said Happy Valley head coach Ben Godsey. "They play real good defense and we couldn't buy a shot in the second half. We got some good looks at the basket, but we still couldn't convert.
"Defensively for about two and a half to three quarters, we played well. Inside Keila (Williams) played real well, real physical. The guards played well on the post when they would kick it back out. Defensively I thought we were tough, we just couldn't buy a shot."
Scoring for both teams was infrequent throughout the first period with Meghan Headley's bucket for Unicoi County at 4:32, the first score of the game. Brandi Dugger tied the game at 2-2 for the Lady Warriors, before Hali Sparks responded for Unicoi County.
The Lady Devils would lead the remainder of the contest. They led 7-4 at the end of one period, 18-9 at the halftime intermission and 31-14 going into the final quarter before stretching it out to 24 points at the end.
Elizabeth Weaver led the Lady Devils in scoring with 14 points, while Sparks worked her way inside for 13. Headley added six points to the Blue Devil cause.
If there was a bright spot for the Lady Warrior offense, it came in the form of Keila Williams, who bucketed nine.
"We just struggled," said Williams. "They have good posts and we weren't doing that well on offense. We got some good looks at the basket every now and then. It was frustrating because everybody was all excited about the ballgame."
When asked about what the team needs to focus on most, Williams matter of factly stated, "Turnovers and blocking out."
The only other HV played to register multiple scores was Mandy Byrd, who ended up with five points. Dugger, Samantha Canter, Kortney Goulds and Shanna Raines all scored two points, while Terra Whaley made one free throw to round out the scoring summary. Overall at the charity stripe, the Lady Warriors converted on 6-of-16 shots.
With the win, Unicoi County improved its conference record to 4-1 and 12-3 in all games. Happy Valley fell to marks of 2-4 in league action and 6-7 overall. Next up for HV awaits Volunteer, whom the Lady Warriors beat handily earlier in the season.