Warriors, 'Dogs advance

By Wes Holtsclaw

   In the semi-finals of the Shoun Lumber Carter County Classic, the Hampton Bulldogs and Happy Valley Warriors brought their a-games and took big wins to advance to Monday's championship.
   Happy Valley played tough defense in their 72-57 victory over Cloudland and Hampton toppled Tri-Cities Christian 65-52.
   University High will play Unicoi County in the fifth-place game after the Junior Bucs beat the Huskies 70-59 and the Devils dropped the Pioneers 56-49.
   The Warriors overcame a six-point deficit after the first quarter in their battle against the Highlanders with strong play from their second unit, building themselves a lead they would never relinquish.
   Happy Valley outscored Cloudland 35-15 in the second and third quarters, and took the victory.
   "Cloudland played good ball," said Happy Valley coach Charlie Bayless. "We out-subbed them and I think we had more players, but it hurt them when the big boy (Robbie Tolley) fouled out because he's tough inside.
   "They shot it well and we were lucky to win by as much as we did," he said. "Our second bunch played real good ball. They helped us when we were down eight and they got me in the game."
   Cloudland went down 7-4 at the beginning of the game, but scored 11 straight points courtesy of Mark Byrd, Cody Jones and Tolley to force a timeout by the Warriors.
   Cloudland wound out with a 19-13 edge in the first stanza.
   Happy Valley had good defense at the start of the second quarter and got big shots from Jeremy Maddox and Ricky Morgan to pull out in front of the 'Landers with a two-point lead going into the second half.
   Tim Whaley stepped up with 10 points in the third quarter, along with some big shots from Alex Carroll and Todd Caldwell to push out in front of their opponents.
   Tolley and Byrd got in foul trouble and Craig Cooke had to keep the squad in the game with some clutch shots.
   Happy Valley went up by 14 into the fourth quarter, with Tolley fouling out on the first possession. The Warriors went up by 16 before Jones, Cooke, and Byrd made treys to cut it back to 11.
   It went to a fouling game and the maroon put it away.
   Whaley led the game with 15 points, while Andrew Bowman added 11. Chris Rutledge (nine points), Maddox (eight points) and Caldwell (seven points) wound up the Warrior leaders.
   Jones led Cloudland with 13 points, while Cooke (11 points) and Byrd (12 points) finished in double digits. Tolley and Aaron Stocton had nine apiece for the 'Landers.
   A strong first quarter run opened things up for the Bulldogs in their semi-final victory.
   Hampton went on a 12-2 run to open the game behind big buckets from Zac Trivette, Jordan Honeycutt and Travis Smith. Solid defense led them to a 14-3 lead after the first quarter.
   Adam Miller opened the second quarter with three treys for the Bulldogs.
   David Rudd got the Eagles in gear with their first seven points in the quarter, before Brian Gillette and Zac Perry set up a trey from Caleb Hunt to slice the Bulldog lead to ten.
   Hampton pushed out their lead to twenty in the third quarter and there was no looking back.
   Miller led Hampton with 21 points, while Smith and Trivette contributed 16 and 9, respectively. Rudd led the Eagles with 19.
   Monday's play begins at 4:30 with the Crockett-North Greene game.