Warriors fall two points shy at South

By Jeff Birchfield

STAR Staff
jbirchfield@starhq.com

   COLONIAL HEIGHTS -- Despite a gallant second-half effort, Happy Valley fell 48-46 to Sullivan South Thursday night at the Rebels' gymnasium.
   "We played better in the second half," said Warrior head coach Charlie Bayless. "But in the first half, they only took about one shot outside. Every time they scored it was right under the boards and we missed some easy shots.
   "In the second half, I thought we played harder and we had a chance to win. It just didn't work out for us."
   The Warriors trailed almost the entire contest, falling behind 26-20 at the half. However, Bobby Morton's steal to start the second half set the tone that this would be a battle to the finish.
   After closing to within one point at the end of three quarters on Jeremy Maddox's trey, Happy Valley nabbed their first lead at the 4:54 mark on a basket by Morton. The teams then fought nip and tuck to the finish.
   Mitch Bedingfield's fall-away shot and a pair of free throws from Aaron Robinette gave the Rebels a 47-43 lead. HV's Ryan Toney then hit three of four shots from the charity stripe himself, before Bedingfield hit one of two free throws with less than a second left to give the Rebs the cushion they needed for the victory.
   For South, they were happy to get the win, although coach Mike Rogers was displeased with his team's lackluster second half effort. "We'll take it, although we did our part to try to lose," stated Rogers. "We had too many turnovers and missed free throws. In the last 30 seconds of the game, we missed four box outs, but we were able to hang on for the win.
   "We thought we would come out all charged up in the second half. We were up by seven in the third quarter and had a chance to build the lead up to about 13. Then, we made some turnovers and instead of being up by 13, we were only up by a couple."
   One player that did step up to the plate for the Rebels was center Aaron Hanks, who scored six of his 11 points in the final quarter.
   "I tried to encourage him to get to the hole," said Rogers. "And he did it. He stepped up and hit three big shots. There were some big free throws from Robinette and Bedingfield made that big shot late in the game."
   The Warriors played the last quarter and a half without the services of their high scorer Tim Whaley, who fouled out after being whistled for a foul and a technical within seconds. Whaley had been a force to that point, with 12 points and with 10 rebounds.
   "When Whaley got that technical it hurt," said Bayless. "We had to play with a lot of sophomores, but we had a chance to tie it. We'll get better. I just need some of the boys who have played a lot to step up and lead this ballclub. Cody (Whitlock) and Whaley have to lead this ballclub."
   Happy Valley did get some other good efforts, making up for his absence.
   Morton hit double figures with 10 points, point guard Cody Whitlock scored nine and Jordy Harrison posted up strong to put in seven.
   On the South roster, Bedingfield paced the scoring with 13, followed by Hanks' 11, Chris McMeans with 9 and Robinette with 8.
   For the Warriors (1-2) who have played their first three games on the road, the home opener is tonight at Bayless Gym, when they host to David Crockett.
   Besides the first game of the season atop Warrior Hill, it marks a homecoming for Crockett coach Marty Street, the star player off the Warriors' 1974 state championship team.