Early season surprises

By Wes Holtsclaw
Star Staff

    Last week, many of our area high school basketball teams started their regular season games. Some of the outcomes were surprising, while many were expected.
   For instance, Johnson County was expected to give Science Hill a serious game at the Topper Palace on Friday night, but fell 98-50, then followed the loss up with a ten-point win against Tennessee High.
   Elizabethton came out Friday night and proved why they were the top team in the Watauga Conference as they spanked Sullivan North, led by B.J. Miller who layed the smackdown on the Golden Raiders with his 39-points.
   Hampton and Happy Valley will meet tonight in a game that could be a deciding factor in the conference as well. Both teams will be fired up for the contest.
   University High's boys team has begun a perfect 5-0 this season, including a dismantling of North Greene. The Junior Bucs look like they may have the squad to beat in the Watauga Valley Conference.
   Unaka and Cloudland's boys squads continue to struggle somewhat, but should be legitimate contenders after a few games under their belts.
   Unaka and Cloudland's girls are leaning ever so close to their conference match-up in January by overcoming some powerful opponents in Sullivan East and Unicoi County respectively.
   The Lady Rangers have four big games this week, including a game against powerful Region 3-1A Cosby tonight on the creek. Cloudland will face 3-A Daniel Boone tonight in a game that could prove the Lady Highlanders' legitimacy this season.
   After a pair of losses last week, Rikki Baughman's 30 points powered Elizabethton over Sullivan North in what was a big conference win for Elizabethton.
   Happy Valley's girls team won two big games putting them at second place in the girls standings, possibly giving them a lead with wins over Hampton and Johnson County this week.
   The Lady Bulldogs will be out to get one in the win column this week and will have several good opportunities, including a game with Sullivan North on Friday.
   As the tone becomes set for this season, many important games early in the season could decide the conference brackets now.
   BOY'S PLAYER OF THE WEEK: B.J. MILLER, ELIZABETHTON
   Miller dominated against Sullivan North this week, scoring 39-points including nine of 13 from behind the arch. He tied the school's scoring record and proved his legitimacy as a good college prospect.
   GIRL'S PLAYER OF THE WEEK: BRANDI DUGGER, HAPPY VALLEY
   Dugger connected in double digits twice for Happy Valley in wins over David Crockett and Sullivan South. She has proven herself as a legit scoring threat on any given night, and has the potential to dominate some this season.
   THIS WEEK'S GAMES
   BOYS
   SULLIVAN CENTRAL AT JOHNSON COUNTY
   This contest could play a major part in the Watauga Conference results this season. Sullivan Central brings a very solid team to Mountain City, where the Longhorns are looking to be sent to Colorado with a bang. JOHNSON COUNTY 63-54
   ELIZABETHTON IN HIGHLANDS BANK CLASSIC
   Look for Elizabethton to shoot the lights out in this week in Abingdon. If Miller continues his hot streak, Lambert and Brown dominate, and Redd slams it like crazy, they should call it off for the boys in Virginia. ELIZABETHTON WINS HIGHLANDS CLASSIC
   UNAKA AT NORTH GREENE
   This is a big conference game for the Rangers down in Baileyton. The Rangers will need a solid effort from Rusty Chambers and Cody Collins over the Huskies' Dustin Collins. UNAKA 58-44
   GIRLS
   COSBY AT UNAKA
   The Unaka Lady Rangers will be playing a team they could possibly see in Sub-State round this year in a tough Cosby Lady Eagle squad. Cosby has one of their best teams this year, and Unaka will beat them. UNAKA 64-50
   DANIEL BOONE AT CLOUDLAND
   The Lady Trailblazers are good, and they will play a tough 1-A team this week in Roan Mountain. Tim Campbell's squad features an always tough line-up and it could be a thriller. DANIEL BOONE 62-58, OT
   HAMPTON AT HAPPY VALLEY
   This will be a big conference match-up for both teams. Happy Valley will need a strong game inside with Crusal Nave, and a solid effort from their strong shooting guards. Not to be overlooked, the Lady Bulldogs will bring a tough squad with Heather Chambers and Joy Gardner. HAPPY VALLEY 48-45