Lady Warriors shake off slow start for win

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR Staff

   Coming off their big win against Elizabethton earlier in the week, it took the Lady Warriors a quarter and a half before they got into the flow of the game to finish off Johnson County in a 56-39 win Friday night.
   Happy Valley came out flat to start the contest, falling behind early and trailing at the end of the first period, 9-5.
   "We didn't come out ready to play to start the game, and we have to come out better mentally prepared than what we did tonight," said Happy Valley coach Ben Godsey. "We had a big win earlier in the week against Elizabethton, but we came out slow and didn't get going until the second quarter."
   A three-point goal from Billie Hurd and a couple of baskets from Elana Owens gave Johnson County the advantage during the first quarter.
   The Lady Longhorns led 12-7 before Happy Valley's Mandy Byrd went on a tear to score nine out of the next 11 points.
   A couple of three-point baskets from Byrd sparked the Warriors, as they went on to enjoy a 28-21 lead by halftime.
   "We had a good run toward the end of the half, and in the second half I thought our defense did a much better job," said Godsey.
   Johnson County cut the deficit to three with two quick buckets coming from Owens along the base-line and Paige Morefield inside the paint.
   Happy Valley went on a 15-5 run to end the third period, as their shooting from outside started to break the game open.
   The Warriors knocked down three shots from beyond the three-point line with two of them coming from Brandi Dugger and another from Kortney Goulds at the top of the key.
   "We just came off a big win and I don't know if that caused us to come out lacked or what, but we finally got it turned around in the second half," said Goulds. "We hit some shots from outside and that helps free up Keila Williams inside. We want to try to get it inside when we can.
   "I think we are now starting to play together as a team with all five players instead of just one person trying to do too much."
   After struggling from the free-throw line in the first half, the Warriors were able to do a better job during the final period by hitting 9 of 14 after going 6 of 23 through the first three quarters.
   "Our free-throw shooting was terrible in the first half and that goes back to not being redy to play," said Godsey. "We finally knocked down some foul shots toward the end of the game and shot much better in the second half."