Junior Warriors, 'Landers excel

  JOHNSON CITY--Happy Valley overcame a huge size disadvantage to defeat a good Church Hill team 41-31 to stay alive in the boys' consolation bracket of the Sweet Sixteen Middle School Shootout on Tuesday.
  Warrior point guard Brandon Burchfield came out on fire, hitting two 3-pointers and two free throws for all eight of his team's first period points to give HV an 8-4 edge at the first rest stop.
  Happy Valley extended that lead to 19-10 at the half, despite missing seven free throws in the second period.
  Coach Rik Anderson got tremendous defensive pressure from his guards, as they harassed the Panther backcourt and successfully kept the ball out of the hands of Church Hill's big inside players.
  "We're so small, that's what we have to do," said Anderson. "I'm proud of how the kids played on defense, and especially of the rotation and help our posts gave each other on their big kids."
  One of those big Panthers did give the Warriors a scare late in the game, as Jake Parker cut loose down low in the paint for seven unanswered points in just 1:36, cutting the HV lead to 31-28 with two minutes left in the game. Parker led the Panthers with 12 in the game.
  The Warriors stepped up big, though, going six for six from the foul line (after converting just 11 of 23 earlier in the game) in the last 42 seconds to preserve the win.
  Burchfield led the Warriors with 12 points, and Logan Bowling also reached double-figures with 10. Bradley McVey chipped in eight points.
  Happy Valley will play Robinson for fifth place today at 3:15 p.m.
  Cloudland 36

  Hunter 33
  Cloudland avenged an early-season loss to the Hunter, beating the Tigers 36-33 to advance to play in the 7th-place game versus Vance today at 1:15 p.m.
  With his team trailing 23-18 with 3:55 left in the third quarter, Highlander coach Todd Hill became upset with his team's play and called a timeout.
  "I just basically told them to pick up the pace and be more aggressive on both ends of the court," said Hill. "When we're aggressive we play well. When we're not, we get behind like that."
  Hill's pow-wow had immediate results, as the Highlanders reeled off nine unanswered points in the next minute and 30 seconds to take a 27-23 lead.
  Cloudland led 31-25 heading into the last quarter, when coach Chris Collins' Tigers went on an 8-1 run of their own to reclaim the lead at 33-32 with under two minutes to play.
  That is when fate struck the Tigers, as their big man and leading scorer Kelly Rapert fouled out.
  With Rapert out, the Highlanders attacked the smaller Tigers inside, as Jacob Julian scored his only points of the game on two clutch inside buckets in the last 55 seconds of the game to preserve the Cloudland win.
  "Jacob played real well," said Hill. "My whole bench played well today. We wouldn't have won without our bench playing like they did for us. The whole team played hard."
  Randall Johnson led the 'Landers with 13, and Rapert and Cody Cornett tallied 10 each for Hunter.
  Vance 38

  Johnson County 34
  Johnson County outplayed Vance in every way but on the scoreboard in their disappointing 38-34 loss to the Vikings.
  The Longhorns outrebounded and outhustled the team from Bristol, and even managed to get off 20 more shots (49 to 29) from the field, but a lid just fell on the basket for the Mountain City team.
  "Our shooting was terrible," lamented 'Horns coach Chris Mullins. "I'm proud of their effort, but it just wasn't in the making for us tonight."
  Johnson County found themselves in a 13-5 hole after the first six minutes, but battled back to within three, 19-16, at the half.
  Big Austin Phipps, the Longhorns' tough post player, banged the offensive boards to score the first five points of the second half and give his team their first lead of the game at 21-19 at the 3:54 mark of the third period.
  The game the took on the appearance of a welterweight fight, as the teams exchanged scoring punches to the tune of nine lead changes in the next six minutes of play, with Vance's Justin Feathers getting the most jabs in.
  Feathers scored six points for the Vike's in the fourth quarter, including the bucket that put them ahead for good just over two minutes to play.
  Feathers and Matt McClellan led Vance with 10 points each. Phipps led JC with 14, aided by Christian Prudhomme with 10.
  Indian Trail 35

  Gate City 33
  Corey McPherson scored the go-ahead bucket with 17 seconds to play, and teammate Gavin Duncan stole an inbounds pass to preserve an exciting, hardfought Indian Trail win over Gate City, as the Hawks defeated the Blue Devils 35-33.
  Blountville 38
  Hampton 36
  Free throw shooting proved to be the difference in an exciting Sweet Sixteen Tournament matchup between the Hampton Lady Bulldogs and the Lady Tigers of Blountville, with the Tigers doing a better job from the line to prevail 38-36.
  Blountville hit eight of 10 from the line in the fourth, and 15 of 22 for the game, while the Bulldogs hit only eight of 18 for the game, and just three of eight chances in the critical final period.
  "We played well the entire game till right at the end," said 'Dog coach Ronnie Street. "Then it was just the same old story...we can't hit our foul shots at the end of the game."
  "I'm proud of them," he continued. "They played well, and that was a good ball club (Blountville). If we can learn to make those foul shots there at the end, we'll win some games."
  Hampton was led by Mikki Oliver with 14 and Cassie Johnson with nine. The Bulldogs were eliminated from the tourney with the loss.
  Hunter 25
  Unicoi 18
  With her team down 13-10 at the half, Coach Tammy Taylor made a defensive adjustment that helped the Hunter Tigers claim a 25-18 victory over the shorthanded Unicoi Lady Patriots.
  Taylor went to a box-and-one defense, with tough defender Andrea Lewis shadowing Unicoi star Ali Gardner everywhere she went on the court while the other Tigers stayed in a zone.
  The strategy worked. Gardner, who had nine of her team's 13 points in the first-half, was held scoreless in the last two periods.
  "That No. 12 (Gardner) is just outstanding," said Taylor, "so I put my best defensive player on her. Andrea gave up some inches on her, but she's quick and smart, and she shut her down in the second half."
  Lewis also picked up her offense in the last two quarters, scoring all of her team-high nine points in the last half.
  Hannah Colbaugh pitched in eight more for the Tigers, while Kayla Edwards added five for Unicoi.
  Happy Valley 29
  University School 17
  Three-point specialist Courtney Byers dropped in three of her long-range missiles early to lead Happy Valley to a big 17-4 halftime lead, and her Lady Warriors held that lead on their way to a 29-17 victory to advance in consolation play.
  Coach Dana Hill gave all 15 of his Lady Warriors good playing time in a game decided early.
  The Lady Bucs scrapped to stay in the game, outscoring the Warriors 13-12 in the second half, but terrible free throw shooting kept the Bucs from making a serious dent in the early deficit.
  University School hit only one of 20 foul shots, just five percent, for the game. The Warriors hit four of six freebies.
  Happy Valley was led by Byers with nine points and Sydney Skeans with seven. Danica Collins scored five for the Bucs.
  The Warriors play today at 12:15 for 7th place in the tournament, while University School heads home.
  Unaka 35
  Indian Trail 17
  The Unaka Rangers used a big third quarter to blow open a close game on their way to defeating Indian Trail by a score of 35-17.
  Kayleigh Elsea scored six of her 11 points in the third, leading the Rangers to a 12-2 advantage in that period to put Unaka comfortably ahead, 27-11, heading into the last six minutes.
  Lady Ranger Natalie Johnson hit two first-half three-pointers on her way to 14 points, as she led all scorers in the contest. Parker led the Hawks with six.
  Vance 36
  Colonial Heights 35
  With her team down by one with just seven seconds to play, Vance's Danielle Dee stole the ball and raced downcourt for a layup that gave the Lady Vikings a thrilling 36-35 victory over the Colonial Heights Lady Chargers Monday afternoon.
  Vance was trailing 30-23 heading into the final period, and Dee scored 9 points as her squad outscored CH 15-5 in the last six minutes for the come-from-behind win.
  Dee led all scorers with 16 in the game. Adele Poole and Ashley Johnson had eight apiece for the Chargers.