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South boys rip Happy Valley, go to 6-0 in Three Rivers

By PAT KENNEY, Sports Correspondent • Jan 17, 2020 at 10:43 PM

KINGSPORT — Sullivan South scored the first 11 points of Friday’s Three Rivers Conference boys basketball matchup with visiting Happy Valley and the Rebels went on to claim an impressive 76-34 victory over the injury-riddled Warriors.

The conference-leading Rebels (18-3, 6-0) saw 12 players score, led by senior Cole Layne’s 19 points.

“I’m proud of our guys. They came out tonight and really put the pressure on their guards,” said South coach Michael McMeans. “We converted our steals into baskets and overall really shot the ball well.

“This is our first trip through the league and we’re right where we want to be,” McMeans added, “but we’re not as good as we want to be yet. But that’s OK. I’d rather peak come tournament time.”

Layne was the driving force for South, scoring 12 points in the first half when the Rebels roared out to a 53-16 halftime advantage.

“We always try to come out and start the game with a lot of energy,” Layne said. “We wanted to jump on them early.

"I think we can still get better defensively. We just have to be more consistent with our pressure.”

Cooper Johnson added 13 points and Gannon Chase 11 for the Rebels.

After starting the season 4-0, the Warriors (4-13, 1-5) lost four starters to injuries and now have lost 13 games in a row.

“We’re like a M.A.S.H. unit out there right now,” said Happy Valley coach Jeremy Maddox. “South is so good you don’t want to play them undermanned. Hopefully we’ll get those guys back before the end of the season and see what happens.”

Dylan Willis led the Warriors with 11 points.

LADY WARRIORS HOLD ON

The Lady Warriors (13-7, 2-4) built a 10-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, and that proved just enough cushion to survive the hard-charging Lady Rebels — as well as some dismal free-throw shooting down the stretch — in a 40-36 victory.

Happy Valley hit just 6 of 21 attempts from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.

“South is a good team, and this is a tough place to play,” Happy Valley coach Thomas Gouge noted. “If we’d hit our free throws, we could have put the game away sooner. But I’ll take a road conference win any way we can get one.”

Shaylyn Whitson had 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks for the Lady Warriors. Kadie Bailey added 11 points.

McKenzie Littleton led South (7-13, 1-5) with 12 points.

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