Unicoi rolls past Lady Warriors

By Ivan Sanders

   The Lady Warriors' run through the District 1 Tournament will be one they will never forget. They were thrown to the Cougars and survived, caught in a middle of a Cyclone and reluctantly knocked down, and finally charred by the Devils.
   Yet, Happy Valley will advance to regional competition as the fourth place qualifier after Unicoi County dominated the Lady Warriors, taking a 67-39 win and third place at Sullivan North on Thursday night.
   The Lady Blue Devils were determined not to let the Lady Warriors catch them by surprise as they dominated every facet of the contest. Unicoi led 22-8 at the end of one and never looked by.
   "We came out with a lot of energy," stated Unicoi head coach Glenn Fisher. "And it didn't hurt that we were shooting the ball extremely well either."
   All-Tournament selection Amber Bailey staked the Lady Devils to the early lead, hitting for 10 points in the opening quarter. The defense employed by Unicoi County took its toll early, resulting in numerous easy baskets on steals by the Lady Devils.
   Brandi Morgan scored four of Happy Valley's eight points in the opening stanza.
   The Lady Devils stoked the stove a little hotter in the second as they took advantage of Happy Valley's scoring problems, and promptly deposited 15 more points on their side of the column.
   The Lady Warriors went for almost five minutes stuck on 15 points. At the half, Happy Valley was shooting a dismal 29 percent from the floor while hitting three of six from the charity stripe.
   Alicia Dick and Morgan each had four points in the half. Morgan also collected 3 rebounds.
   On the other side of the ledger, the grass was much greener. Unicoi found itself shooting a blistering 53 percent from the floor, led by Bailey with 10 and Candice Shelton with 9.
   "Happy Valley has played two excellent ball games in this tournament," said Fisher. "If nothing else, the mental stress may have led to part of their misfortunes tonight."
   Things didn't improve any in the third period for the Warrior Hill residents. Unicoi went on another run to build their lead to 30 at the 3:40 mark of the third, 47-17.
   The only bright spot for the Lady Warriors had to be the play of Brandi Dugger, who racked up 15 points to lead Happy Valley on the evening.
   Dugger did most of the damage from the line, where she nailed 11-12 from the freebie mark.
   Said Lady Warrior coach Ben Godsey: "We have played two excellent games, but tonight Unicoi came in here and manhandled us. We weren't ready to play and I will take some of the blame for that."
   The fourth period saw multiple bench players enter the contest for both squads. Amber Stevens came off the pine to tally 6 in a brief appearance for the Lady Devils.
   Unicoi's Bailey ended the evening as the high scorer of the night with 18. Shelton pitched in 11, while Oler finished with eight.
   Besides Dugger's output, the Lady Warriors received four each from Kandra Roberts, Mandy Byrd, Morgan, Dick and Kate Powell.
   Unicoi finished the night shooting 53 percent compared to 22 percent from the floor for the Warriors. The only place Happy Valley had an advantage was at the foul line where they hit 21 of 28 for 75 percent, while Unicoi shot only 39 percent from the line.