Boone wins tough battle with Warriors

By Jeff Birchfield
STAR Staff
jbirchfield@starhq.com

   For the third straight year, Daniel Boone came to Warrior Hill and walked away with a close victory, this time a 49-41 win over Happy Valley at Bayless Gym.
   The tight outcome was no surprise to victorious coach Bobby Snyder.
   "We have played these people for 43 years since I've been coach," said Snyder. "For the 33 years at Boone and 10 at Boones Creek, this has never been an easy place to win. The margin of the win was a little more than what it really was."
   Happy Valley (2-4), playing without starting post player Tim Whaley, trailed only 40-38 in the middle of the fourth quarter, before Boone scored nine straight to put the game away and remain a perfect 6-0 on the season.
   "With Whaley out, we struggled with our rebounding," said Warrior head coach Charlie Bayless after his team was beaten 24-15 on the glass. "There ain't no excuses. We played pretty good. We did a good job keeping the ball out of the post. It's tough just to stay with them. They have the talent to run you out of the gym."
   Added Snyder: "I told our kids when they were knew that Whaley wasn't going to play, they would step up. And Happy Valley did. I saw them do the same thing against Sullivan South. It didn't surprise me. Happy Valley played much better than the first time we played them (a 51-37 Boone win). Their zone defense caught us off guard. We were expecting that, but every time you play against Charlie, you better be ready to counter his moves."
   The Blazers were led by Scott Ploncha with 15 points and six rebounds, and Jeremy Helscel, who added 11 points and eight boards. Ben Fox also made double digits for Boone with two shots behind the arc, helping him to reach the 10 point mark.
   "We were fortunate," said Snyder. "Our kids hung in there tough when it really meant something. I thought we kind of took over that two or three minutes before the end. It's been that way all year. It's been the little things that players have stepped up and done. But, I tell you Happy Valley is going to be a good basketball team."
   At the end of one quarter, the Warriors were behind 13-7. They kept the margin close throughout the remainder of the half thanks to a pair of treys by Ryan Toney. As time expired in the second quarter, Boone clung to a 28-22 lead.
   The Warriors kept up the pressure in the third quarter, with a three by Andrew Bowman that was answered by Ploncha. Determined to close the gap, Stephen Williams scored on an old-fashioned three-point play with a bucket and free throw.
   Cody Whitlock made two free throws and Williams scored to close the Warriors within one. No matter how close, the Warriors never could take the lead although, they threatened when Whitlock stole the ball and drove downcourt. That scoring opportunity ended when Whitlock slipped as he went up for his jump shot.
   Rodney Sells scored one more basket for the Blazers to end the third with a 35-32 Boone lead. They held Happy Valley at bay the start of the fourth quarter before the final sprint to the finish.
   "We had a chance to tie the game after they got a technical, but we missed the foul shots," said Bayless. "Then we turned around and threw the ball around and that proved to be a turning point of the game."
   Bowman spearheaded the Warrior attack with 14 points and seven boards. Williams had a solid night with eight points as did Toney. Jordy Harrison chipped in five, Bobby Morton four and Whitlock two to round out the scoring.
   "Bowman played good both on offense and defense and he led us in rebounding," said Bayless. "He and Toney both hit two three-pointers and Williams did good too. It's always a great honor to play against Bobby's team. We're about the oldest coaches around anymore."
   The Warriors will take on another Washington County school on Thursday night, when they travel to Jonesborough and play David Crockett.