Central downs Lady Warriors

By Michelle Pope

   BLOUNTVILLE--In the girls' District 1-AA tournament game to determine the third and fourth-ranked teams in the Watauga Conference, Happy Valley bounced back from a 17-point deficit at the half to make it only an 8-point loss to Sullivan Central.
   In the second half alone, Brandi Dugger put down 10 points for the Lady Warriors, as Kortney Goulds and Kate Powell scored nine points each to make the Lady Cougars battle to keep their claws embedded in the lead. Central won 50-42.
   The Lady Warriors couldn't get their shots to fall in the first half, as they went 0-of-21 from the field, their only scoring come from the foul line, with four free throws by Dugger, two by Keila Willams, and one from Goulds.
   Meanwhile, Central's Beth Shelton was packing a heavy punch from the three-point line, sinking three treys in the first quarter and another in the second.
   "We had many opportunities and blew all kinds of layups," said Happy Valley coach Ben Godsey. "That was the only points we had. I've never seen a basketball team go through a half and not hit the field goals. It's not like we didn't get any good shots -- we had some good opportunities. We just weren't ready to play."
   "They didn't do anything when they got the turnovers, and I think that was the saving grace," said Central coach Gary Surcey. "You can sit there and watch as we make those turnovers, but they're not gaining on us."
   After the halftime break, the Happy Valley girls came out of the locker room with a vengeance. Dugger hit a three-pointer and added an inside jumper and a free throw for six points in the third quarter.
   Powell put up a pass for two points and sank a jumper from the side, and Goulds hit a trey. Mandy Byrd and Terra Whaley each added two points to put the Lady Warriors within 12 points going into the final quarter.
   "The second half was a totally different story, but when you shoot 15 to 20 percent, you're not going to beat anybody," Godsey said.
   In the fourth, Goulds scored two baskets from outside of the arch, as Dugger followed her lead and sank one herself. Powell put down five points to help the Lady Warriors to a 19-point quarter. However, Happy Valley's slow start proved to sting as the minutes on the clock ticked down, and the Lady Cougars snatched the third-place trophy, putting Happy Valley in fourth.
   "I'm proud of our basketball team, especially the last two weeks of the season," Godsey said. "We've played hard. Defensively, I'm not disappointed. I thought we played well. Offensively, I'm disappointed in the decision-making of our basketball team.
   "We're still alive; we've got one more opportunity to play, and I hope we can get a good win. It's going to be tough, but we're not going to give up. You can't play one half of basketball, and expect to win the game. That pretty much sums it up."
   Dugger led the Lady Warrior scoring with 14 points, with Goulds adding 10, and Powell putting in nine points. For Sullivan Central, Shelton scored a game-high 20 points, going four for six on three-point goals. Caitie Munal dropped 11 points for the Lady Cougars, and Julie LeSueur scored nine points.