Lady Warriors play well in defeat

By Jeff Birchfield

   KINGSPORT -- Another close call for the Lady Warriors (1-11, 3-18) ended with a familiar theme as they remained without a victory in over a month.
   "I'm proud of our effort, said optimistic HV coach Ben Godsey after his Lady Warriors dropped a 58-53 decision to Sullivan North on Friday night.
   "It was a good basketball game and I thought we played pretty solid. We didn't come out on the win column, but we fought hard and did a decent job rebounding. It was an improvement over the last couple of games as we were pretty solid fundamentally."
   HV opened up with a 6-0 lead behind scores by Brandi Morgan, Brandi Dugger and Mandy Byrd. However, North would outscore them 14-1 over the next few minutes before Lauren Hollowell's free throws broke the stream of Lady Raider points.
   "We tried real hard," commented Morgan, who scored HV's first and last points of the game. "The coaches had us pumped up before the game to get us ready. We tried to do all we could. We keep trying harder and harder every game. All we can do is get stronger and do better. We've been working on our rebounding hard the last few practices. I feel good about the effort."
   The Lady Warriors made a run of their own to end the half and take a 21-20 lead into the locker room. Midway through the second half, the Lady Raiders began to assert themselves with Kim Doran and Kristen Hughes getting key scores.
   Down by six going into the fourth quarter, Kandra Roberts scored 17 of her team-high 19 points to give HV a chance. "We tried to spread things out at the end and let her drive," explained Godsey. "We cleared the whole side for her and let her go one on one. She pulled up and hit some jump shots. However, we're still not scoring inside or getting any buckets there.
   "They (North's defense) were packing it in and not coming out after the basketball at all. It's tough to get it in there, but you have to work it in. We have to find some more scoring besides just the perimeter."
   The problem for the Lady Warriors was every time they scored, North answered at the free throw line. Kim Jessee sank 7-of-8 shots at the charity stripe in the final period to seal the victory for North, now (4-8, 7-15).
   "I'm never able to relax and enjoy the game when we play Happy Valley," said Raider coach Bill Armstrong. "It's always a nailbiter when we play them. I thought they played an excellent game tonight. We won the game because we had 13 turnovers and we had been averaging 22. We had some kids really step up. Kim Doran did a wonderful job at point guard when Kim Jessie got in foul trouble.
   "We did a good job with our delay pattern and got some backdoors off that. We had some real nice assists with that play. Once we got ahead, we made some good free throws down the stretch. Amanda really nailed some free throws and Kim Jessee made some when we needed them. Two weeks ago, we would have lost this game. It was an exciting win for us."
   Dugger had 14 points, Morgan eight, Hollowell and Terra Whaley four apiece for HV. Doran paced the Lady Raiders with 18 points, while Frazier scored 13 and Jessee added 11.
   Next up for North's girls is a game at University High on Monday night, before a key tilt with Sullivan Central on Tuesday. HV will host Unicoi County in another boys-girls doubleheader atop Warrior Hill next Tuesday.