Junior Warriors take two from Cloudland

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR CORRESPONDENT
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

   The Happy Valley Middle basketball squads doubled the victories last night against Cloudland.
   In the earlier girls contest, the Lady Warriors ousted the Lady Highlanders in a 29-27 thriller. While Happy Valley toppled Cloudland 32-22 in the boys.
   Happy Valley (Girls) 29
   Cloudland 27
   The Lady Warriors opened in style and endured a stingy group of Highlanders before taking a two-point win.
   "It was a big win for us," said Happy Valley coach Dana Hill. "Anytime you beat a Highlander team, it's always a big win. I thought Cloudland played hard and really got after us."
   "We made some real crazy mistakes towards the end of the game," he said, "But we stepped up at the end and made a big bucket there."
   Samantha Canter opened the game for Happy Valley with four of her 11 points to help her squad open on a 7-0 margin after the first quarter.
   Cloudland roared back in the second quarter with eight points of a game leading 14 from Jessica Mathes with the strong play of Whitney Hill and Daranda Byrd to come within two points going into the second half.
   Chelsea Whitlock and Ashley Sluder led the Lady Warriors with stingy defense throughout the half, and it would pay off in the next period.
   Backed behind another strong showing from Canter and Jennifer Black, the Lady Warriors outscored Cloudland 11-4 in the third quarter and looked like they were ready to close in on the win.
   The Lady Highlanders wouldn't allow it.
   With a strong quarter from Santana Clawson, Cloudland fought back to take the lead after a nice bucket from Byrd and held it down to the wire.
   However, Hannah Banks took the lead back for Happy Valley with under a minute remaining to give her squad the win.
   Said Hill: "As a team, we've been struggling as of late. But with this Christmas break coming up, we hope to be hitting on all cylinders come the end of January."
   Happy Valley (Boys) 32
   Cloudland 22
   Brandon McCloud and Daniel Shankle had big games for the Warriors in the night-cap, scoring ten and eight respectively in Happy Valley's 32-22 win.
   "Well we needed this game," said Warrior coach Rik Anderson. "You've gotta try to win all of your conference games at home. We are 4-0 in the conference, and that was our goal to start off with."
   Cloudland battled the Warriors strong in the first quarter, only trailing Happy Valley by one. Dustin Calhoun popped a pair of treys for the Highlanders, but it wouldn't be enough.
   The Warriors held a ten-point advantage throughout most of the second half behind Francisco Bourquez and Logan Loveless. Cloudland rebounded solidly after Mike Lunsford and Cody Hughes' playmaking.
   "Defensively, I thought we gave a great effort" Anderson said, "We kinda got out there and guarded Lunsford a little bit, and we couldn't let them get three point happy."
   "We still need to work more offensively," he said. "But we hold our own destiny. We're in the drivers seat as we're concerned, so whatever happens, we're in control of it."