Crockett trips Lady Warriors

By Jeff Birchfield

   JONESBOROUGH -- The train for the Happy Valley boys' basketball team never left the station, while the HV girls' team never got on track until it was too late.
   The Lady Warriors fell 59-56 to previously winless David Crockett Friday night after a flu bug forced the postponement of the boys' contest between the two schools.
   "Just the little things got us beat," said HV head coach Ben Godsey. "Our free throw shooting was poor, we missed some easy shots and we turned the ball over. When they pressed us, we went bananas. It was a frustrating basketball game for everybody."
   Crockett jumped out to an early 7-3 lead before Brandi Dugger came off the bench to insert some life into the Warrior camp. After Dugger made two steals and dished a nice assist to Tera Whaley, HV went up 9-7.
   The lead was short-lived as Brooke Penley made a shot right before the first quarter buzzer sounded to put the Lady Pioneers back on top 13-11.
   Happy Valley was further derailed in the second period. Despite having 19 free throw attempts to zero for Crockett late in the second quarter, the Lady Warriors trailed by six. At the half, they were still down by six, 28-22.
   Crockett's lead ballooned out to 12 at the end of three quarters after Ashley Hill scored the last four points of the period.
   With only 3:00 remaining in the contest and Crockett holding an 11-point lead, it looked like the Lady Warriors were left for dead.
   Finally, there was a spark for HV with six straight points coming from Kelia Williams, Jennifer Osborne and Whaley. Crockett's Hensley countered with a 9-foot jumper from the left side to put the lead back to seven with a little over a minute in the game.
   Whaley and Kate Powell scored consecutive buckets for HV to cut the lead down to three with only 45 seconds remaining.
   Hensley, who had previously missed her first nine foul shots, then came to the line and sank two to put the Lady Pioneers back up by five.
   "That meant a lot to her," said DC head coach Andy Hare. "You could tell she was really nervous out there. When she hit the first one, it broke the ice for her. I was really pleased for her. She made the free throws we needed at the very end."
   With the defensive intensity turned up, the lead was sliced to two after a free throw and bucket from Williams. The Lady Pioneers were back up by three with five seconds left on a free throw by Ashley Hoss.
   Trying to tie, Powell missed a long three-pointer at the buzzer as Crockett seized a first win of the season.
   "Hoss only scored one point, but she controlled the game," said Hare, who took over a program this season that produced only 11 wins over the last three years. "She took away the inside game for them.
   "We've just been trying to get better every game. We've been real close to winning three times in a row. Tonight everything came together for us. This was a huge win for our program."
   About the late rally, HV's Godsey said, "We didn't quit and fought back there at the end. We had a chance, but we really got beat before that. We made bad decisions and took too many quick shots. That cost us the ballgame."
   Hensley led the Lady Pioneers in scoring with 18 points, including a pair of shots behind the three-point arc. Hill had 15 and Melinda Levassuer added 10 in the Crockett win.
   Whaley was HV's high scorer with 13 points in the loss.
   "We just started out really bad," said Whaley. "We had too many turnovers and I didn't think we blocked out very well. We just went spastic everywhere and fell apart when they pressed us. We just have to take our mistakes and learn from them."
   Williams and Powell each scored 11 for the Lady Warriors. Point guard Mandy Byrd had seven, Kourtney Goulds had six and Dugger had four in the defeat.
   Crockett now stands at 1-4 after the win. Happy Valley fell to 2-4 with their next game, a Watauga Conference affair scheduled Tuesday night at Volunteer.