By Tim Chambers
It was supposed to be an easy game on paper for Elizabethton, yet the Lady Cyclones almost got shredded by Happy Valley.
Photo by Danny Davis - Controlling the basketball, Elizabethton point guard Morgan Depew is off to the races with Happy Valley’s Shalee Perry at Bayless Gym on Friday night.
Reazyn DeMoss hit a 10-footer with :02 remaining giving ‘Betsy a stunning 60-59 win on Friday night at Bayless Gym.
The Lady Warriors had their chances to put Elizabethton away. Two missed free throws and one boxout was all that stood between them and what would have been their biggest win of the season.
“All year long — we’ve been capable of playing like this,” said Happy Valley head coach Erica Beach. ‘I’m happy and encouraged about what I saw out here tonight. A buzzer-beater, they’re tough to swallow, but I’m proud of our kids. We need to take this type of intensity and enthusiasism into the tournaments because we can beat anybody if they’ll play like this. Elizabethton is a very good basketball team, but I felt like we probably should have won the game.”
Happy Valley led 56-52 with 1:55 remaining. Elizabethton had misfired on a couple of shots, but the Warriors lost the handle on a would-be rebound. Caley Hodge was Johnny-on-the-spot — getting a putback that pulled EHS within two.
Later, a missed one-and-one that could have put HV up by five opened the door for Elizabethon to tie the game behind a three-ball from DeMoss with :35 remaining.
Chelsea Holiman made the first of two free throws that gave HV a 59-58 advantage with :10 to go, but missed the second.
That was all the time needed for DeMoss to record her game-winning shot.
“I was yelling for us to foul,” said Beach, whose team had three to give before ’Betsy would reach the bonus. “But the crowd was so loud I don’t think they could hear what was being said from the bench.”
Happy Valley sprang out of the gate hotter than a two-dollar pistol to start the first. It amassed 21 points, with Mackenzie Blankenship scoring a third of those. She had good help from Katie Hodge, who scored six points, and Carrie Gouge had four.
The Lady Warriors ended the frame 9-of-16 from the field (60 percent), which resulted in a 21-15 lead.
EHS found its groove in the second quarter with a “Stella” performance. The Lady Cyclones outscored the Tribe 16-7, with point guard Morgan Depew sparking the offense. Her six points and five more by DeMoss surged them back in front, 31-28, at the half.
Many were expecting Happy Valley to fade away or ride off into the sunset to start the third. Instead, the team stuck around like bees on honey.
Baskets from Hoilman and Blankenship helped them wipe out a five-point deficit. DeMoss and Lauren McCurry quickly pushed it back to six with a pair of threes.
From that point the Lady Warriors went on a 7-2 run, getting baskets from Gouge and Blankenship to tie the game at 40-40. Shalee Perry’s three free throws with :01 remaining gave them a 43-40 advantage heading into the fourth.
The lead changed hands six times in the final five minutes of the game before a winner could be decided.
Happy Valley was 7-of-10 from the foul line, but missed two one-pluses that could have possibly sealed the outcome.
DeMoss ended the night with 22 points, going 5-of-10 from behind the three-point arc. Depew added 11 points and four assists while Caley Hodge totaled nine points and 10 rebounds. McCurry also had nine points, and Roberts collected nine rebounds.
Katie Hodge probably played her best game of the season, finishing with 17 points and eight rebounds. Blankenship added 14 points, and Gouge cashed in 13 points and nine boards.
Elizabethton head coach Mike Wilson didn’t feel like his team played well, but commended them for finding a way to win.
“We don’t always play as well as we can and we don’t always play intelligently, but these kids never quit,” said Wilson. “I knew Happy Valley would play well — they’ve got some talented kids. You better be ready to play because we came out here in a hornets nest. We had a lot of adversity and we didn’t defend very well at all. We got out of here with a win. That’s pretty much all I can say about it.”