PIKEVILLE, Tenn.–It’s always nice to beat a rival, but when another one is lurking around the corner, the celebration is short-lived.
That’s the feeling Bledsoe County waked away with Thursday night as they downed the Eaglettes, 41-28. Yes, it’s a win, but Sequatchie County sits in the weeds stalking its prey from afar.
“It’s pretty tough,” Lady Warriors head coach Carlos Davis said. “It wasn’t by choice. We had to make some adjustments to our schedule earlier in the year before our season actually started. That’s one reason why I substituted a lot tonight trying to keep fresh legs for tomorrow night. Tomorrow night was more important than tonight.”
And when you factor in that Bledsoe County silently sits at the top of District 7-AA after beating Signal Mountain on January 13, the rivalry on Friday starts to take precedence over the outcome of Thursday night’s matchup. That being said, Thursday night was the first time in three years that Lady Warriors beat Van Buren County.
That was not the case early in the first quarter as Van Buren County took an early 6-2 lead right out of the gates before an injury slowed down the Eaglettes momentum.
“We started out hitting pretty good,” Eaglettes head coach Tyler Sapp said. “Then we just hit a drought, big time. I don’t think we scored for a good eight or nine minutes. And that’ll kill you. Lynnsey Keener’s the biggest girl we’ve played all year, and usually we can drive and kick out some, but we tried to feed it into the post a little more tonight, which we don’t usually do. Kinzie [Johnson] pulled a move and scored, and she ended up getting in foul trouble.”
The Eaglettes dug a hole early, but as the game went on, that hole got shallower. The Lady Warriors lead by 12 at the half and 19 at the end of the 3rd quarter, but Van Buren County climbed up and almost brought it to single digits with two minutes left. Bledsoe County literally held onto the ball and the game to seal the deal over their not-so-bitter rival.
“We just started having better transitions tonight,” Davis said. “We held them to fifteen points at the half, and of course, we gave up some sloppy points there at the end, but we’ll hang it up on the win. Our kids are starting to gel at the right time, and they’re finally starting to click after the Christmas tournament up in Jamestown.”
The Lady Warriors claimed their sixth straight win Thursday night and currently sit at 4-1 in the district. And although, it racked up as a loss for the Eaglettes, Thursday evening had a different meaning and a different motivation for Sapp
“I’m usually always fired up, but I get extra fired up for this game,” Sapp said about coaching against his alma mater. “I was able to come back here last year and be an assistant, but to come back and be a head coach is something special for sure.”
The Eaglettes travel to Marion County on Tuesday while the Warriors play host again as they welcome Sequatchie County to Pikeville for the harwood renewal of The Stump.
VBHS — 6 | 9 | 3 | 11 || 28
BCHS — 13 | 14 | 10 | 4 || 41
VBHS (75) — Tilly Dodson (15), Mallory Christian (7), Kinzie Johnson (3)
BCHS (52) — Lynnsey Keener (16), Christian Roberts (5), Several Players (4)