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Unicoi County takes measure of Happy Valley

Gene Renfro • Updated Dec 1, 2017 at 11:35 PM

ERWIN — Long-time rivals met in Erwin Friday night as Unicoi County bested Happy Valley in both the boys’ and girls’ Three Rivers Conference opener for the teams.

Unicoi County took the boys’ contest behind a 73-46 decision with a strong second half. The Lady Devils were a 58-35 winner earlier in the evening.

“I’m happy about being 1-0 in the league and going from there,” Unicoi County head coach Michael Smith said. “One of our goals is to win the league. You can’t win it if you don’t win games. I’m proud of them for that. We found a way to win with a great job of getting after it in the second half.”

The Blue Devils started the nightcap with a 6-0 outburst. The home side kept the lead of at least five most of the first half.

A late Warrior push eventually tied the game before halftime. That push saw back-to-back three pointers by Noah Stevens and Kevin Whitaker. The long-range buckets tied the score at 20 each 63 seconds before the half ended.

Happy Valley took advantage at the free throw line in the first 16 minutes. The Warriors were 10-for-15 at the line with Brayden Sams going perfect 6-for-6 at the line en route to a team-best 10 points — which all came in the first half.

The Blue Devils’ Clay Simpson ended the half’s scoring with a bucket to send Unicoi County up by two at the break.

The second half was a different story. The Blue Devils were able to build a 47-27 lead late in the quarter that left little doubt of the outcome. Trevor Hensley tallied 20 of his game-best 28 points in the last half. Simpson also reached double digits with 13 points.

“The effort was definitely better in the second half,” Smith said. “I’m not sure what the deal was in the first half. We got out to a pretty good lead (16-7) we started missing some shots and started getting down about that. We have to make sure we keep our focus on us and stay after it.”

The Blue Devils improved to 6-1 overall with the 1-0 league mark. Happy Valley went to 2-4 with a 0-1 conference record. Unicoi County goes to Sullivan South Tuesday while Happy Valley welcomes Sullivan Central.

GIRLS

Unicoi County 58, Happy Valley 35

The girls’ contest saw the Lady Blue Devils build a 12-4 lead after eight minutes and go onto to the win.

Halie Padgett filled up the stat sheet with 10 points in the first quarter en route to a game-best 23. She collected six rebounds to go with two steals.

Kennedy King dished out a team-best five assists to go with five points. Kaylee Hendrickson also contributed four assists. Chloe Powers and Kaitlin Bailey each had nine points for the winning side.

Adrienne Henegar and Kate Roberts had nine points each to pace the Lady Warriors. Roberts used a trio of 3-pointers for her scoring — all in the second half.

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