HV splits with Gray

Photo by John Bryant
The Lady Warriors’ Summer Ward, defended by Sarah Brown (44) and Michelle Stafford (40), sized up her game-winning shot.

  GRAY--The Happy Valley Middle School basketball teams traveled up to Gray Elementary last night and split wins between the girls and the boys.
  While the girls managed to enact a bit of revenge for the Lady Golden Knights dropping them out of the regional tournament last year and to keep their flawless record, the boys dropped their game only after giving up their lead by allowing 14 points scored on them in the fourth quarter.
   "We just kind of lost our composure there in the fourth," Jr. Warrior head coach Rik Anderson said. "We started trying to force things. We had let our offense work for us and it got a little out of control. Gray did good there picking up on the rebounds when we did that and we didn't match it. I thought that was the big difference in the game. They were getting second and third opportunities and we just let them shoot and they scored.
  "We've got to do a better job of taking care of the ball and rebounding the basketball. We need to let the game come to us instead of trying to force it. We've just got to find some toughness about us, somewhere. We play for a while and we lose our intensity. It just happened to be at the end of the game this time."
  The Jr. Warriors versus the Golden Knights was a defensive one, with a first-quarter score of 5-4 with the lead in the Warriors' favor.
  The second quarter opened up with two fouls on the Warrior squad and a three-point shot by Chris Richardson for a 10-4 lead.
  Gray answered back with a two shots on the board and a free throw point for a 10-9 score. Then Warrior Richard Nave got fouled and Logan Bowling had a lay-in for a 14-9 score. Gray then has a near buzzer beater for a 14-11 halftime score.
  The Knights bring their shortage to one, but Bowling received an inbound pass for two points. He then took it to the boards again, this time getting fouled and taking the free point for a 19-13 lead.
  Matt Gouge then brought it down court on a fast-break turnover and Brandon Birchfield got sent to the line to increase the Warrior lead to 22-13. Gray's Jimmy Starkey then drilled a buzzer beater, but the Warriors maintain a seven-point lead.
  In the fourth quarter, the Golden Knights increase the press and forces numerous turnovers and the Warriors wouldn't touch the net for the entire fourth quarter. The team also had five fouls in the fourth that assisted the Knights to a 14-point shooting spree to take the game.
  Bowling lead the Warrior squad with seven points, six of which were at the board. Birchfield tallied six points including an outsider and three at the line.
  Starkey lead all players with 10 points, all of which were field goals. Dylan Compton tallied five points at the line for the Knight squad.
  The Lady Jr. Warriors, however, had a much better night, even though four of their regular starters had to miss out on the opening minutes for disciplinary reasons.
  "Those starters that sat out the first half came back in the second half ready to play," Lady Warrior head coach Dana Hill said. "They showed a lot of character in doing that. Gray, year in and year out, has a tremendous basketball team. They gave us all we wanted tonight. For the past three or four years, we have played two-point ball games except for the regional tournament last year, and this was a bit of revenge for us this year.
  "The bench is not as far along as I would like for them to be but we are progressing. It is a slow process but we are getting there. We will have them ready come tournament time."
  Happy Valley ruled the hardwood the first quarter, allowing only one Lady Knight to score at the board and had a 11-7 lead.
  Gray's defense stepped up and came into play more in the second, allowing the Lady Warriors only two good looks, one by Kacie Wilson and one by Lindsey Tolley to go to the locker room at the half with a 22-13 lead.
  The Lady Warriors wised up to the defense in the third quarter. A technical for having too many players on the floor and two perfect outside ringers from Courtney Byers caught Happy Valley back up to the Lady Knights with only a two point deficit beginning the fourth.
   Gray was sent to the free-throw line to start of the quarter and then hit a field goal. But Sydney Skeans went to the boards off a fast break for two and Brittany Rice saw an opportunity under the board for two and drew in the foul to make it three and tie the game back up at 33 apiece.
  Toney hit the basket but then Gray's Kaitlyn Harmer went inside for a board for a 35-35 tie.
  With 24.2 seconds left, Summer Ward finds a hole and goes in for the game-winning two points. There was 10.3 seconds left but the Lady Knights didn't get an opportunity and the Lady Warriors got a sweet victory.
  Byers and Brittany Rice both tallied six points for the team while Toney, Ward and Skeans each had five.
  The Lady Knights were led by Harmer, who tallied 14 points at the board.