Lady Warriors take close game vs. Volunteer

By Marvin Birchfield

   CHURCH HILL--Defense was the name of the game for the Happy Valley Lady Warriors on Friday night as they held off Volunteer to claim a 41-39 victory.
   The Warrior defense stepped up in the final minutes of the contest to stay ahead of the Falcons despite making several turnovers, which nearly cost them the game.
   "I was real happy with the way we played defense in the final minutes. We slid our feet and didn't reach in, along with blocking out and controlling the boards," said Happy Valley girls coach Ben Godsey.
   Happy Valley trailed 9-8 after the first quarter of play, with Makala Thurman scoring inside for Volunteer.
   Free throws were the difference for Happy Valley in the first half, as the Warriors were 12-of-15 from the foul line and ended up hitting 16-of-21 for the game.
   Kortney Goulds was 7-for-7 at the stripe, finishing with nine points for the game, which helped the Warriors obtain a 22-16 advantage at halftime.
   The Warriors grabbed the first three scores of the second half off of free throws by Brandi Dugger and Whitney Crowe.
   Volunteer stormed back to go on a 8-0 run led by Thurman, who scored inside and off the break.
   A stolen pass by Jacklyn Talbert brought the Falcons with one-point of the lead with three seconds left in the third, as Happy Valley clanged to a 31-30 lead.
   "We never could quite pull away," Godsey said. "We had an eight or ten-point lead several times, but weren't able to build on it."
   Terra Whaley provided the spark for the Warriors in the second half with a bucket coming down low off a Volunteer turnover, and a conversion on the fast-break.
   "I just did what I had to do. We weren't running the floor that well, and we had a bad game in the last one, so we had to pick it up," said Whaley.
   Whaley scored eight of her 12 points in the second-half to give the Warriors a 38-32 advantage with 5:34 left in regulation.
   "After we saw all the turnovers we had, we just tried to step it up a little and take the shots we could handle," said Whaley.
   Volunteer came back to pull within two, after a offensive rebound and score came from Thurman.
   The Warriors answered with a basket from Crystal Nave on the inside, which came off a pass from Whaley.
   Happy Valley had trouble holding onto with the ball in the final minutes, as turnovers nearly became their worst enemy.
   "Their at the end when we wanted to run clock. We got a little crazy with the basketball and turned it over two or three times, which could have cost us the ballgame," said Godsey.
   Ashley Bennett hit a 12-foot jumper for Volunteer with under two minutes left to make it a 41-39 HV game, but the Warrior defense dug down in crunch time to deny another basket.
   "I was pleased with how we played defense, and we did what we had to do to get the win," said Godsey.