Jr. Warriors stop Hunter in finals

By Wes Holtsclaw

   Pro Wrestling legend Ric Flair once said, "To be the man, whooo, you gotta beat the man!" Last night, the Happy Valley Jr. Warriors had to 'beat the team,' and defeated the regular-season champion Hunter Tigers, 50-40, in the elementary district tournament finals before a packed house at Snavely Gym.
   "The kids deserved it," said HV coach Rik Anderson. "I told them before the game, they worked hard enough to get here and just to go out and take what they deserve. They worked hard tonight, the bench stepped it up, and they just wanted to win."
   Both teams came out strong in the first quarter turning heads left and right with the high-paced game. Drew Davis set the pace for Happy Valley early, but was met by the Hunter big man Charles Peters, with both teams set at an 11-11 tie.
   The second quarter was a Happy Valley explosion. Davis and Greg Swafford helped shut down Hunter to six points as Happy Valley took a charging 27-17 halftime lead.
   Things would only get better from Happy Valley in the second, as Ryan May and Ricky Morgan provided a one-two punch punch to take a big 50-40 win for the district championship.
   "I think everybody played as a team tonight," said Davis, who led all scorers with 18. "We hustled and showed what we needed to show tonight.
   Peters and Church added 13 and 10 for the Tigers.
   Girls Large School Title
   Cloudland 36
   Happy Valley 24
   Happy Valley came out strong in the early girls matchup with the Cloudland Lady 'Landers, putting Cloudland behind in the second half for the first time all season. However, strong play from Jessica Lunsford and Whitney Houston allowed Cloudland to take the District title 36-24.
   "We played hard," said Cloudland coach Mike Lunsford. "We got a little panicky in the third period, came back though under pressure. Jess (Lunsford) and Whitney (Houston) carried us, Whitney hasn't had a real good tournament but she stepped it up tonight."
   Cloudland led the majority of the game, keyed by the play of Houston and Lunsford and good defense from Heather Banner and Natasha Miller.
   Happy Valley stayed with them as Sam Canter, Shanna Raines and Amber Duncan provided the scoring and defense to take a lead in the second half, but free throws eventually helped Cloudland prevail.
   Said Happy Valley coach Dana Hill: "The girls played their butts off and that's all I could ask of them. Cloudland's a great team, they played good defense in the fourth and that was the difference in the game.
   Lunsford led all scorers with 15.
   Small School Boys Title
   Unaka 33
   Central 25
   Tee Blevins' 13 points helped the Unaka Rangers plow past the Central Comets to take the Small School Championship earlier in the evening.
   It was a close game early as Central took a lead at the end of the first half, but Unaka proved to be too much on the evening.
   Small School Girls Title
   Little Milligan 42
   Central 23
   Jessica Price and Pam Montgomary sent shockwaves through Central with a big second half performance helping Little Milligan hold Central to only five second half points.
   The girls had 15 and 13 points respectively to help the Lady Buffs take the small district title.