Lady Warriors come through in second half

By Jeff Birchfield
STAR Staff

   JONESBOROUGH -- It may not have been Knute Rockne's 'Win one for the Gipper' speech, but Happy Valley's girls basketball coach Ben Godsey, used the halftime locker room to give his Lady Warrior team much needed motivation in their 53-46 win at David Crockett on Thursday night.
   "It was one of those speeches, where I even broke a couple of things," said Godsey. "I guess it worked. We had a bad first half, where we weren't ready to play. We played the first couple of minutes and quit. That doesn't get it done against anybody. It was a truly disappointing first half effort.
   "We got outhustled and then in the second half, we took care of that. We weren't great in the second half, but we did what we had to, to win the basketball game."
   Added junior forward Whitney Crowe: "After he threw the board down and the marker went into the lockers, it got our attention. He told us there was no sense in this. We came off a big win against them, the last time (we played them). We just had to play together, get some rebounds and key the offense and that's what we did."
   The reason for Godsey's passionate plea was a first half, where the Lady Warriors literally stunk up the joint, hitting a sparse 4-of-35 shots from the field and none in the entire second quarter.
   "We weren't patient in the first half," said Godsey. "We still weren't patient enough in the second half, but fortunately we got plenty of shots. We had some forced shots and off-balance shots, but we did enough to get by."
   Despite the horrendous shooting, the Lady Warriors actually did lead 15-11 at the end of one quarter, but fell behind to the tune of 29-19 by the half.
   With their motivation clearly back, they rallied to only a one-point 35-34 deficit on a Kelia Williams' shot going into the final quarter.
   Moving ahead to the final minutes, Terra Whaley made a basket at the 5:20 mark to put the Lady Warriors up 42-41. They reeled off another five points courtesy of Kate Powell, Crystal Nave and Crowe, before Crockett managed to score again.
   "We worked hard this past week," said Crowe. "We came off a bad loss to Boone, but we worked our way back up. We should have beaten this team by more points. Our team finally worked together the last few minutes to earn this win.
   "Our shooting percentage was only 16-for-60, but 12 of those came in the second half. We're young and we have to grow. We have to get better shot selection, but that's the case for everybody."
   The Lady Pioneers (1-8) were hampered by the loss of guard Brittany Hensley.
   The guard, who was averaging 18 points per game coming into the contest, left the game late in the second quarter for a trip to the hospital for stitches after a collision with a Happy Valley player.
   "When Hensley went out, we had a ten point lead," said Lady Pioneer head coach Kirk Minton. "She's our point guard and floor leader. She goes out and we end up playing four freshmen. They're pretty good players, but they're all looking around for leadership."
   In her absence, Ashley Hoss picked up most of the slack for Crockett, scoring a game-high 21 points. Hensley had seven up to the point she exited and Jessica Chandley scored six.
   "Hoss stepped up for us," said Minton. "She played great in the first half until she got in foul trouble. Then, she had to spend most of the third quarter on the bench. We were playing with four freshmen and only one senior, who doesn't have a lot of experience after that. The positive thing is we're getting better. All of our losses have been close games, and we've been in them all."
   For Happy Valley, Nave led the team with 12 points, followed by Crowe's 10.
   Whaley chipped in nine, Mandy Byrd added eight and Powell scored seven.
   "Any win for us is a good win," Godsey remarked. "There is not a bad win for us right now. But, if we don't show up and give 100 percent, we're not going to beat anybody. That's one thing our kids have to understand. You have to give that effort for anybody we play against. That's what we're looking for."
   The Lady Warriors, now improve to 6-4 on the year, already equaling the win total of last year's team. They move back to league play on Jan. 2, when they put a 2-0 Watauga Conference up, as they visit Elizabethton.