Warriors top 'Dogs for classic title

By Jeff Birchfield

   Happy Valley topped Hampton 74-54 to take the championship of the Shoun Lumber/Carter County Classic basketball tournament at White/Van Huss Gymnasium on Monday night.
   The game was certainly closer in the first half than the 20-point final margin. The teams went into halftime tied at 30-30, after the Hampton had controlled most of the first half.
   The Warriors were able to come back from a 10-3 early deficit when head coach Charlie Bayless inserted the second five to replace his starters.
   "Every game we play, we're down in the first quarter," said Bayless. "We get down, but we fight back. I like that in a way. It seems like when we get down, we want to play harder.
   "When you have good ball players, you can just sometimes sit back and watch. You're able to say boys I will meet you there, just get on the bus. These boys have a lot of talent."
   Ryan Toney sank a three to start the HV comeback.
   "We just came in and played hard," said Toney. "We had to play our style to go out and win the championship. It's a lot more fun to play this year, a lot more action."
   Later in the half, it was Todd Caldwell hitting four treys on his way to a game high 19 points.
   "I just came out and I was feeling it when they gave me the ball," said Caldwell. "The shots just kept going in, so I kept throwing them up.
   "This year, it's like we are one big family. We know what we need to do no matter who is in there. We have role players and we know what each of us has to do to win. We mix it up in practice and get used to everybody, so it's pretty good."
   Still, the Bulldogs were a determined bunch on their home turf. They led the game until 5:15 was left in the second quarter and fell behind no further than three points the rest of the period.
   "The first half, we played about as well as we could," said Hampton head coach Bud Hazelwood. "If you play like that, you can play with anybody. We've improved and made great strides. We just have to keep working and keep improving and maybe come tournament time, we can make some things happen."
   Jordan Honeycutt and Adam Miller were a pair doing a ton of inside damage for the Bulldogs. Honeycutt led the team with 16 points, while Miller posted 13.
   The Warrior front was led by tourney MVP Tim Whaley, who had 13 rebounds to go along with 12 points. The Warriors as a group crashed the boards to a tune of 38 rebounds.
   "We didn't rebound the second half," said Hazelwood. "Those offensive rebounds just flat out killed us. We couldn't push the ball because we weren't getting any rebounds. We have to box out better.
   "I have to give Happy Valley credit, they keep throwing people at you, but I'm not down on my boys, we played hard."
   Happy Valley was finally able to bust out to a double-digit lead starting the second half, going on a 13-2 run thanks to scores by Andrew Bowman, Alex Carroll and John Bulla.
   Carroll ended the night with 11 points, while Bowman added nine.
   The Bulldogs played tough throughout a very physical contest getting strong efforts from Jacob Culler and Alex Ingram. Travis Smith also provided good offensive output for the boys in blue with eight points.
   Tri-Cities Christian 51
   Cloudland 33
   Helped by the Highlanders' ice cold shooting, Tri-Cities Christian easily won the third place game. Cloudland scored a mere five points in the first half and by mid-way through the third quarter, their overall team shooting stood at a dismal 2-for-29 from the field.
   "All we can go is go back and practice," said 'Lander head coach Ned Smith, whose team played without leading scorer Robbie Tolley. "It seems like the goal had a lid on it tonight. Nothing would go in.
   "Our kids played ok defensively in the first half, but we couldn't get any shots to fall."
   The Eagles were out to a 14-3 lead at the end of one quarter and ahead 22-5 at the half. Unable to get its offense going, Cloudland trailed by 26 points before scoring nine points at the end.
   David Rudd with 13 points and Tory Davis with 12 had leading efforts for Tri-Cities Christian. Craig Cooke, with 11, was the lone Highlander tallying double digits.
   The Landers, now 4-4 on the season, plays against another private school, Providence Academy, on Monday.
   Unicoi County 72
   University High 59
   Paced by a 24-4 run through the second and third quarters, the Blue Devils easily dispatched the Junior Bucs in the fifth place game of the Carter County Classic.
   UH had no answer for the inside force of Unicoi County center Jonathan Grindstaff, who scored 22 points. Matt White added 15 points and Ryan Corn busted a couple of treys in a 10-point effort for the Devils.
   John Tillman was the leading scorer for University High with 18 points, while Ryan Collins added 13.
   David Crockett 61
   North Greene 56 (Overtime)
   Lance Booker iced the game for Crockett in the seventh place game, sinking a couple of free throws with two seconds left in overtime.
   Matthew Burns, who scored a game high 18 points for North Greene, had forced the extra play by making one of two shots from the charity stripe with five seconds left in regulation.
   Besides Burns, Timothy Gass with 10 points and Aaron Spears with 10 provided double figures for the Huskies.
   The triumphant Pioneers were led by William Haston with 14 points. Booker, James Carper and Tyler Estepp all added nine for Crockett.