CCYL crowns tourney winners

By Marvin Birchfield

   Carter County Youth League basketball recently wrapped up another season, with the boys teams of Cloudland, Happy Valley, and Hunter all having a representative as a tournament champion.
   In the pee-wee division, it was Cloudland which showed no signs of weakness or mercy by defeating Hampton in a 58-27 final.
   The 'Landers were the only undefeated team on the season, as they continued to display dominance all the way through the tournament.
   Cloudland enjoyed a 15-point lead by halftime, and its 21-point total in the third quarter put the game out of reach.
   "We did it mostly with our defense, and I told them all year long if we can play good defense then we'll score enough points," said Cloudland coach Dave Johnson. "I told these kids to keep on working and believing and then they'll get there.
   "I just love these kids."
   Happy Valley held off a late charge from Hunter in the Cadet division, but it was the Warrior defense that decided this contest with a 25-18 final.
   The Warriors jumped out to take a 14-3 lead by halftime, as their defense stifled the Tigers in the first two periods.
   Happy Valley went undefeated on the season, wrapping up first place in both regular and post-seasons.
   "Defense was what won this ball game for us. We played excellent defense all game long," said Happy Valley coach Joey McKeenah. "We couldn't have asked for a better season, or ask for a better played game.
   "I'm glad to get here, for we had a great group of kids."
   The closest game of the event was between Hunter I and Happy Valley III in the Jr. Cadet division, where the Tigers were able to hit some key free-throws down the stretch to squeeze out a 17-16 victory.
   The Tigers were undefeated and finished in first on the regular season, and continued on their winning ways throughout the tournament.
   "The boys played really hard, and I'm proud of both sides for the way they played," said Hunter coach Clint Reed. "Our kids really deserved it. They practiced hard all season, and all the kids played up to par."
   Happy Valley I rallied during the final period to defeat Valley Forge I, after trailing by eight points in the final period with a 30-27 victory.
   The victory enabled Happy Valley to finish third overall in the Pee-Wee division for the postseason, as they were tied for first in the division on the regular season along with three other teams.
   It was a good showing for Hampton I in the postseason, as they played a tough game against Unaka I to finish third in the Cadet division with a 26-22 victory.
   The Bulldogs grabbed a 14-11 lead at the half, and were able to hold off the Rangers through the last two periods.
   Cloudland I managed to shut out Keenburg I through the second and third quarters, as they won 11-6 to claim third place in Jr. Cadet.
   The two teams tied for second place in their division on the regular season, but after a 2-2 tie at the end of the first period, the 'Landers pulled away to capture the victory.
   Girls Action
   Congratulations to Hunter's Pee-Wee girls by finishing their second consecutive undefeated season with a 30-24 win over Unaka II in a game that went back and forth.
   It was the Unaka I Pee-Wee girls who finished third after scoring a victory over Cloudland in a 44-37 final, as the contest remain close all the way till the end.
   After trailing at the end of the third and fourth quarters, the Hunter I Cadet girls slipped past Cloudland III with two free throws at the end, scoring a 24-22 victory for first place.
   The Happy Valley IV girls put away Hampton in a 35-25 final, after the Warriors started strong and never let up, to finish third in the season-ending tournament.
   Cloudland II held off Happy Valley II 14-13 in Jr. Cadet to become the crowning champion, as the 'Landers led most of the game to hang on from a late rally.
   It was Happy Valley I which defeated Cloudland II to score a third-place finish in the Jr. Cadet.
   The Hampton Bulldogs finished first in the Pee-Wee division in cheerleading, as they were followed by Hunter and Central.
   Valley Forge had all the right moves in the Cadet division by defeating Range and Unaka for first.
   In the Division I Jr. Cadet, Little Milligan made the loudest cheers while Keenburg and Happy Valley were both runner-up.
   Hunter scored first in the Jr. Cadet Division II, as they were trailed by Hampton and Valley Forge.
   The spirit award went to the Central Comets, while Hunter's Jr. Cadet squad was awarded Best Sportsmanship honors.