HV ends Lady Bulldogs' season

By Kim Richardson
STAR Correspondent
krichardson@starhq.com

   BLOUNTVILLE--Every team would like to score early and often, but the Lady Warriors of Happy Valley did that and more with their 53-39 District 1-AA tournament win over the county nemesis that had actually beaten them in both regular season games.
   "You cannot have a scoreless quarter, even though we battled back, and expect to compete with a team of Happy Valley's caliber," said Hampton's Joy Gardner, one of two departing seniors on this promising Lady Bulldogs team. 
   "It's a little sad, yes," Gardner said, "but I wish the other teams the best. We simply didn't have a very good game tonight, but Happy Valley had a lot to do with that."
   The Lady Bulldogs went over 10 and a half minutes before scoring. The first basket was by Gardner, who hopes to continue playing basketball.
   "I'm not putting all my eggs in one basket," she said. "Sure, I'd love to play in college, but either way, I play to get my degree."
   Sophomore Jessi Price played well, but added, "None of us played with enough intensity. For whatever reason, we appeared timid, and against a team we'd proven we could beat. I'm proud that we battled back, but we just got a little too far down."
   Hampton has a very promising group of underclassmen returning next season, and with Coach Leslie Campbell having a couple years with Amber Chambers, Lacey Oliver, Price, Pam Montgomery, Adrian Tinsman and many others, the feeling here is that the Lady Bulldogs will be a very improved team for the next several years to come.
   The Bulldogs also lose Jessica Tolley, but her sister, a freshman, will also step into a bigger role next season. 
   But overall, this season has taught the Lady Bulldogs that they can play with the best in the conference. They defeated Sullivan Central and North, and the Warriors, twice before Friday's terrible first quarter, the quarter that ultimately sealed their fate for 2004.
   Terra Whaley threw in 19 points for the Warriors, who now look forward to facing perennial power, Unicoi at 6:30 Tuesday evening.  Brandi Dugger had 10 and Keili Williams tallied eight.
   Heather Chambers led the Lady Bulldogs with 14 points, followed by Gardner's 12.
   Pam Montgomery admitted that she and her teammates were a little demoralized, having to dig out of a 20 to nothing hole.
   "We dug too deep early," she said. "No matter how hard we battled back, we already had too much of a deficit to overcome."
   Elizabethton will play Sullivan Central, winner over Volunteer by five, just after the conclusion of the Warriors game with Unicoi County.