Ultimately, the Buccaneers were never threatened in a 66-42 non-conference win over Happy Valley on Tuesday night at Bayless Gymnasium.
“We struggled a little bit defensively with foul trouble,” Bucs head coach Justin Penley said. “A lot of that has to go to Happy Valley. They play hard and they were committed to getting the ball into the hands of Carter because he is a real good player and a matchup problem for us. We had a game plan to guard him and I felt like we executed it well.”
Happy Valley was a bit shorthanded for this one with two starters — Dakota Cochran and Noah Stevens — out. Stevens collected two technical fouls on Monday against Cloudland and will miss two games.
The Bucs (6-2) led 13-7 after one period but kicked the offense into high gear in the second quarter, outscoring the Warriors 22-7 with post Jake Hubbard scoring nine and Marshall Fleenor adding eight. UH was up 35-14 at the half.
The Bucs extended to a 49-24 lead by the end of the third quarter as Coach Penley was able to clear his bench.
Kaleb Meredith topped all scorers with 23 points, including four triples, plus he grabbed seven rebounds. Fleenor coupled 13 points with three steals while Hubbard and Colin Daniel each added nine points. Mason Broome pulled down a game-high 13 boards.
Forward Luke Roberts had 14 points for Happy Valley, which got nine from Bryce Carter. Landon Babb contributed six points and seven rebounds.
Happy Valley 56, University High 33
The British rock group Yes wrote a song called “Long Distance Runaround,” and it could have been the theme song for this game.
The teams combined to hit more 3-balls than two-point buckets in the first half. In the first half, each team had four treys with Happy Valley also hitting four deuces and University High connecting on three.
The Lady Bucs (5-5) hit four deuce baskets in the game and had just two in the second half.
“We had too many turnovers and lost focus,” Lady Bucs head coach Herman Rice said. “I thought the first half was pretty even, but it was one of those games where you lose focus and Happy Valley has good 3-point shooters. It's still a learning process; we are trying to build a program and change the culture.”
Calli Newberry had a pair of treys with Sarah Fisher and Ali Dockery each hitting one — but the Lady Buccaneers also had 12 turnovers in the half as the Lady Warriors took a 23-18 lead into the halftime break.
Adrienne Henegar totaled a game-high 17 points, netting nine in the first half on three-for-nine (33 percent) shooting from long distance. Post Shalyn Whitson added six first-half points and she finished with 12 for the Warriors.
Things went terribly wrong for the Lady Bucs in the third period. UH was 0 for 10 shooting and committed six more turnovers as the Warriors outscored University High 16-0 in the period for a 39-18 lead.
A pair of free throws from Newberry to open the fourth quarter halted the scoreless streak. Gracie Crabtree also hit a pair to make it a 39-22 contest but Happy Valley scored the next 10 points for a 49-22 advantage.
Mauri Johnson's two free throws put an end to the Warriors’ run and made it 49-24, but the distance was too great by this time to make up.
Newberry led UH with 13 points with Johnson kicking in six.