Warriors sent tumbling from tournament

By Michelle Pope

   MORRISTOWN -- After dominating the court with its fast-paced game all season, Happy Valley finally fell to Sullivan Central in the Region 1-AA semifinals Wednesday evening at Morristown West.
   After trailing the Cougars until the third quarter, the Warriors tied the game, only to see Central pull ahead once again. The game streamed suspense again in the beginning of the fourth, as Happy Valley drew within two points with just under six minutes left, but the Warrior defense sent the Cougars to the line eight times, where they went 12 for 15 on free throws for the 61-52 victory.
   "They outplayed us," said Happy Valley head coach Charlie Bayless. "They shot the foul shots when they needed them, and that's what you need to do to win."
   Sullivan Central posted a team effort early in the game, as all five starters and three more Cougars all contributed to Central's 16 points in the first quarter. Jeremy Maddox opened the game after the Warriors took the tipoff with a jumper from the side. Starting senior Tim Whaley scored two baskets for the Warriors, while Andrew Bowman sunk an outside shot for three, and Alex Carroll put in a one-handed lob.
   In the second quarter, Whaley carried the Warriors within four points of Central by halftime with 11 points. Bowman added a jump shot and a pair of free throws. However, another 16-point quarter from Central kept the Cougars in the lead. Philip Wetherford scored two three-point goals and put one up from beneath the net to lead the way.
   "They've been great to coach," said Central head coach Tony Vaughn. "When I say to do something, they do their best to do it. You can be satisfied or unsatisfied -- it's up to them."
   In the third quarter, both teams scored 11 points to keep Central up by four going into the final eight minutes. Carroll tied the game at 32 when he tipped in a Maddox jumper, but Joe Brown broke it by scoring from behind the arch, and led the Cougars' third quarter scoring with seven points.
   "Central has a good ball club," said Bayless. "They have more experience in tournament time. This was our first trip and we were nervous. You lose one game and you're out."
   In the final quarter, Central scored 12 of their 18 points from the penalty stripe. Wetherford shot 100 percent from the line with four points and Matt Dunford shot four of six foul shots and scored two baskets to collect eight of his ten game points in the final minutes.
   "He made some big free throws," said Coach Vaughn of Wetherford. "That's not bad for a sophomore."
   Happy Valley shot consistently in the final quarter, as Todd Caldwell scored a trey, Whaley and Bowman were two for two from the foul line, and Rutledge, Carroll and Maddox put down field goals, but the damage dealt from the Cougar foul line proved to be fatal to the Warriors' season.
   "We didn't get to run the ball much," said Bayless. "It's hard to run when you have a team that can rebound on you. When they shoot well too, it's hard to beat them."
   Whaley led the Warriors with a game-high 18 points and Bowman joined him in the double digits with 12 points. Wetherford scored 15 points for Central, as Joe Brown and Dunford added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
   "We shot ten free throws in the first half and 28 in the second half," said Vaughn. "When you shoot 28 in one half, you're going to miss a few, but we'll still live to play another day. The first thing we have to do is get ready for tomorrow. We have to come down from that high and get to business."