Girls basketball in spotlight at HV


  
  The plan for having a great preseason get-together at Happy Valley can be underlined with the four B's: Basketball, a Bevy of good teams in Bayless Gym at a great Bargain.
  Girls prep action will take center stage when Happy Valley High School hosts the Valley Forge Auction Thanksgiving Classic on November 24, 26 and 27.
  Besides the homestanding Lady Warriors, many other top local programs will partake in this tip-off for the 2004-05 season.
  Notable are the Triple-A powerhouse programs of Science Hill, Morristown West and Tennessee High. The Lady Toppers have one of their deepest squads in a long time and are expected to be among the top teams in the District 1-AAA.
  One month after the Thanksgiving Classic ends, Happy Valley will return the favor and play in the Lady Hilltopper Chick-Fil-A Holiday Classic.
  Morristown West had one of the best programs this end of the state over the last decade. The Lady Trojans reached the state semifinals just three seasons ago.
  Tennessee High had to replace two Division 1 players off its 2003-04 squad, but return a couple of talented players in Kara Faidley and Jena Rickard.
  Another top team in the mix will be the defending Region 1-AA tournament champions from Elizabethton High School. Returning the area's top player in Rikki Baughman and the tough inside presence of Michaela Pietrowski, an interesting matchup will be against Morristown West on the final night.
  Two other Carter County schools will also participate with the Hampton Lady Bulldogs and the Cloudland Lady Highlanders coming to the west end of the county.
  Hampton returns most of its team from one season ago, including top wing players Lauren Pittman and Heather Chambers. The Lady Bulldogs are given the honor of closing out the Classic on Saturday night against David Crockett.
  Cloudland, which barely missed the sub-state last season brings a talented team from Roan Mountain. 'Lander fans will no doubt anticipate their only scheduled meetings of the season on Friday against Elizabethton and Saturday against Happy Valley.
  Neighboring University High with first year coach Charles Frye is playing in the Classic as the opening game opponent for Happy Valley.
  David Crockett and West Greene help fill out the remaining slots for the three nights of action.
  Crockett coach Andy Hare will always have fond memories of playing Happy Valley. It was in Jonesborough last season that his team beat the Lady Warriors for his first ever win as a head coach.
  West Greene is a former conference rival for Happy Valley with games against Elizabethton and Hampton on the first two nights.
  The most anticipated game is a single game appearance on Wednesday. Former Lady Warrior head coach Mike Rader, who served as HV principal the last few years, makes his debut as the coach of Gatlinburg-Pittman.
  As head coach at Happy Valley, Rader compiled a sparkling record of wins and losses. His 1989 team made it all the way to the Tennessee Class AA State finals. The first step in building a similar tradition at G-P starts Wednesday at 4 p.m. against Crockett.
  All these teams will play in Bayless Gym with it being the only tip-off girls tournament in the Johnson City-Elizabethton area.
  Thanks in large part to excellent sponsorship from Valley Forge Auction, attending the Classic is one terrific bargain.
  For $4, you can witness five games a day featuring the varsity squads plus a couple of games involving junior varsity teams. Certainly if you like watching high school girls' basketball the Thanksgiving Classic provides a great format at rock-bottom costs.
   A complete listing of games scheduled will be in next Tuesday's edition of the STAR.