Warriors tripped  by Unicoi County

By Wes Holtsclaw

   Tuesday night, like the hit from Guns N Roses, the entrance to Bayless Gymnasium should've read "Welcome to the Jungle." It was rightly deserved, as the Unicoi County Blue Devils squeaked by the Happy Valley Warriors in a tight 49-46 contest.
   "It was a great game," said Unicoi coach David Whaley. "We knew it would be nip and tuck -- we played well down the stretch. Chris Brown took a charge there at the end, which was big. Our kids rebounded and made some big plays down at the end."
   It was a close game early as Unicoi held a slight lead, but the Warriors blazed back with Adam Smith and Lamar Rollins battling it out with Darrell Roop and Ryan Patterson to a 15-15 tie after one.
   The second quarter was all about defense. Chris Campbell and Tim Whaley made some critical shots early, but Unicoi bounced back to cut the Happy Valley's lead to one at the half.
   Halftime entertainment was provided courtesy of the Happy Valley and Unicoi pep sections, which sometimes derived the attention from the game throughout the entire night.
   Unicoi would own the third quarter, after Tim Lewis launched a three to go with a big performance from Nick Garland, to take a three-point edge going into the final mark.
   The game was balanced early in the fourth until Lewis and Garland got started again, taking a lead by as much as eight. Happy Valley would not give up, as Rollins and Campbell nailed some treys to come within one point.
   But the charity stripe would count tonight, as Michael Price and Nick Garland nailed some clinchers. The Warriors would have one last chance, but Whaley took the half-court shot instead of passing it off to a wide open Campbell, with the miss giving Unicoi the narrow margin of victory.
   "We played pretty good ball in the first half," said Happy Valley coach Charlie Bayless. "The third quarter hurt us, they've been playing good ball lately.
   "We've been struggling, and we'll keep struggling. They got to learn that their best defense is their clock defense. We just don't understand that game."
   Both teams had three players apiece with double digits. Unicoi's Darrell Roop led all scorers with 15, Nick Garland had 13 and Ryan Patterson had 10.
   The Warriors were led by Chris Campbell and Whaley's 11-point performances, while Rollins added 10.
   Lady Warriors 51
   Lady Warriors 37
   The Lady Devils, led by an 18-point performance from Kim Anders, pulled out the big 51-37 conference win over the Lady Warriors in the earlier contest of the evening.
   "It was a good win," said Unicoi coach Glenn Fisher. "I thought the team played well and did an oustanding job rebounding. I thought the difference was on the boards."
   Happy Valley kept it tight throughout the contest, holding Unicoi to a 14-point spread across most of the game, and that's how it would end with the charity stripe allowing the Unicoi victory.
   Kim Anders played a tremendous game early, leading the Devils with eight first-quarter points, to go along with Rachael Oler's defensive prowess.
   The Lady Warriors played a good game, as Kandra Roberts provided 13 points to go with Mandy Byrd's eight. Deanna Rice added 10 points to the Unicoi side.