Lady Highlanders turn in perfect WVC worksheet

By Marvin Birchfield

STAR CORRESPONDENT

   There's no doubt who the No. 1 girls team is in the Watauga Valley Conference.
   The Lady Highlanders finished the season with a perfect record in Watauga Valley play, as they defeated Unaka by a final of 60-42 on Friday night at Sonny Smith Gym.
   "They wanted to go undefeated after winning the conference last week, and they achieved their goal and played hard," said coach Matt Birchfield.
   Both ballclubs started the first quarter by getting their big people inside involved in the game.
   Amie Storie poured in 6 of her 12 points during the first period, while Julie Roberson responded with 6 and finished with 14 on the night.
   The 'Landers obtained a 16-11 lead after the first period, and extended to a 10-point advantage at halftime.
   "Offensive rebounds were a key. When you shoot it three times, you should be able to make at least one of them," said Birchfield.
   Nine points were scored by Taukia Hughes in the second period, as she finished as the game's leading scorer with 17.
   The Rangers came out in the second half to score the first six points in the period and shrank the deficit to four, with Renee Ensor making a steal and finishing with a lay-up.
   "We made a good run to start the second half, and then they went to a trapping defense and we started throwing the ball away," said Unaka coach Kenneth Chambers.
   But from that point, Cloudland went on a 10-2 run to finish the third quarter.
   "We missed a lot of shots and rebounds, but I think we played them better this time than we did before. I'm still proud of how our the girls performed," said Chambers.
   A couple of threes from Tara Hanson and Holly Blair sparked the 'Landers in regaining their momentum.
   Danielle Ensor scored down low with :05 left in the third to make it 41-29 heading into the final quarter.
   The 'Landers came out in the last period to push the lead to 49-29 after a steal and fast break from Nicki Webb.
   Cloudland had opened the game up with defensive pressure and creating turnovers.
   "I think the difference in the game was we started boxing out better in the second half, and then we added our half court press that shook them up a little," said Hughes.
   The Rangers were not able to come back from the deficit as Cloudland went on to celebrate their undefeated conference season.
   "It's awesome and I'm so excited for our dream was to go undefeated in the conference. We are really happy," said Hughes.