Lady Warriors upset frontrunning 'Betsy

Photo by Kristen Luther
Happy Valley's Keila Williams shoots over 'Betsy's Tanya Dykes.

By Jeff Birchfield

   After seeing Rikki Baughman light them up for 32 points earlier this season, Happy Valley's Lady Warriors had one objective on Tuesday night. Stop her.
   Following a gameplan which limited Baughman to a season-low five points, Happy Valley stunned Elizabethton, which was previously unbeaten in league play, 44-34 at Treadway Gym.
   "I thought we had a good game plan," said Lady Warrior coach Ben Godsey. "We ran a 2-3 (zone) and threw some junk defenses in there. The main thing was our kids executed and believed in what we did. For the most part, we controlled the ballgame."
   Determined to keep the ball out of Baughman's hands, it looked like the plan might backfire in the second quarter when Valerie Kauffield, Victoria Hopson and Whitney Bishop all knocked down treys for the Lady Cyclones.
   Despite trailing 6-2 at the end of one quarter, EHS had roared back to take a one-point lead. Keila Williams made a bucket before the half ended to put HV ahead in the defensive battle 12-11.
   In the third quarter, the Cyclones pulled in front 19-13 on two baskets by Tanya Dykes and a bucket by Baughman. Two straight scores by Cameron Crapps and one by Michaela Pietrowski put EHS up 27-21 going into the final stanza.
   Over the next five minutes, HV outscored EHS 15-3 in a game-deciding run. Brandi Dugger's penetration to the basket led to eight free throw attempts in the final quarter, where she was a perfect at the line.
   If there was a player who exemplified what HV was trying to do it was point guard Byrd with her defense. She stopped a 3-on-1 break in the second quarter and had a huge block of a Lady Cyclone three late in the game.
   "I had talked to Coach Godsey after the last game and my defense was something I needed to work on," said Byrd. "I just wanted to do what it took to do to win, and tonight that was defense.'
   A play for the highlight reel saw Byrd put HV ahead in the fourth quarter when she threw an inbounds pass from half-court to a wide open Williams for an easy lay-up.
   "We practice that," Byrd explained. "Normally teams will sag down in there, but we caught them off-guard. If we play like we did tonight, we're unstoppable."
   Dykes was Byrd's counterpart for EHS. The two had a defensive showdown in the first half, with each player creating havoc for the opposing offenses.
   "Our shots weren't falling tonight and I knew we had to step up and play good defense," said Dykes. "It was tough to lose our first game like that. It was unexpected, but we hopefully will get back on track the next game."
   Williams led the Lady Warriors in scoring with 16 points after eventually finding holes in the Cyclone defense.
   "We played awesome team ball," said Williams. "It was special beating Elizabethton, especially since they were unbeaten in the conference. We played really hard and hustled more after the ball in the fourth quarter."
   Dugger had 11 points, missing only one shot from the charity stripe to score in double figures for HV. Byrd added six while Terra Whaley and Kortney Goulds each scored four.
   Dykes paced the Lady Cyclones with six points. Kauffield, Crapps, Hopson and the aforementioned Baughman all trailed with five.
   The loss stopped Elizabethon's perfect league record at eight games. Their overall record now stands at 13-5.
   "They did a good job," said EHS coach Mike Wilson. "They played that 2-3 zone and we had a hard time against it. We didn't shoot well, but that's part of it.
   "They got the lead, spread the floor and let Dugger create. They figured that was their best chance and it worked out for them."
   Happy Valley improved to marks of 5-4 and 9-9 with the win.