Coach: Mr. Justin Penley
Assistant Coach: Justin Sylvester
January 10th, 2014 11:41 pm by Trey Williams
University High is temporarily without point guard Luke Willoughby and shooting guard Joseph Phillips, but it still has quite a backcourt in Marcus Taylor. The 5-foot-9 senior overcame constant attention from Cloudland to score 25 points, including 11-of-12 foul shooting in the fourth quarter, and the Junior Bucs pulled away for a 57-49 Watauga Valley Conference victory Friday at Brooks Gym.
Four of Taylor's free throws came compliments of two Cloudland technical fouls in the final 63 seconds after Brady Horton's two free throws had given UH (2-3, 8-9) a 50-41 lead.
Taylor put the finishing touches on the victory with a crowd-pleasing driving dish to Horton for a lay-in that made it 54-41 with 47 seconds left.
Horton and fellow senior frontcourt players Nate Berning and Jordan Evans were instrumental in victory, according to Taylor. They combined for 10 blocks. Horton had 14 rebounds and four blocks. Berning had five blocks and Evans had nine rebounds.
"They made it tough on me but everybody played so well around me, and that was important to the outcome," Taylor said. "Those blocked shots are something that are invaluable. They came through really big for us." Taylor scored four of his five field goals and 14 points in the first half, including a pair of free throws with 4.5 seconds left in the second quarter that gave UH a 26-18 halftime lead.
"We thought they'd do a lot to limit his touches and they did a pretty good job of that," UH coach Justin Penley said. "Some other guys that have been role players took it upon themselves to impact the game in a positive way. I thought our posts played well. I thought Brady really provided a spark for us. Cloudland usually does a good job on the glass. We had to take advantage of that size in the post."
The Highlanders (2-2, 7-11), who were led by guard Austin Whitehead's 16 points, opened the third quarter with a 10-run that gave them a 28-26 lead on Zack Benfield's transition basket that Whitehead assisted with 5:51 left in the period. But Taylor answered with four straight points, including an 18-footer.
"We came out flat," Cloudland coach Gary Harrison said. "They outplayed us the first half and we never recovered from it. We've gotta become more mentally tough. If you don't play four quarters in this league you're gonna lose. "He (Taylor) is a great player and we knew that coming in. ... He can singlehandedly beat you."
Dustin Estes scored 14 points for the Junior Bucs, who made 29 of 39 free throws.
Cloudland was 14 of 24 at the line.
Preston Ongtengco's 3-pointer via a two-dribble pull-up gave UH the lead for good (43-41) with 2:50 left. He dove to force a turnover at the other end 27 seconds later.
"I thought we played really well defensively and we were able to get to the free throw line and convert," Penley said. "Down the stretch I thought we played smart."
UH was 2 for 16 from 3-point range. Taylor made the other trey.
Colby Birchfield scored 11 points for Cloudland. Jesse Potter added eight.
Cloudland at University School basketball Gallery January 12th, 2014 11:55 pm by Dave Boyd
© 2014 Johnson City Press
Taylor's 38 points lift Jr. Bucs to win
November 30th, 2013 8:14 pm by Jeff Birchfield
Both head coaches agreed: Marcus Taylor was the difference for University High against Happy Valley.
Taylor scored 37 points to lift the Junior Bucs to a 68-65 victory over the Warriors in the opening game of Saturday action at the 24th annual Hardee's Classic basketball tournament at David Crockett High School.
In the fifth-place game, Daniel Boone rallied from 14 points to beat Cherokee in overtime and Greeneville beat Unaka for seventh-place.
Taylor had 18 points in the fourth quarter, including a rare 4-point play, to put the Junior Bucs ahead in a game which featured six second-half ties and 10 lead changes.
"I'm just glad it was enough," Taylor said as the Junior Bucs improved to 2-4.
"We needed a win, and I was just lucky I hit enough to win the game. We lost a tough game to Unaka the other night that was kind of the same way. Today, we were down in the fourth quarter, but we came back and won. That's promising for us.
We needed it."University High's coach Justin Penley had plenty of his praise for his 5-foot-9 senior guard's efforts against the Warriors (1-7).
"The difference in that game was that Marcus played on our team and not theirs," Penley said.
"Marcus definitely came to play tonight. He made enough plays at the end to pull it out for us."
For the Warriors, it was a better showing after losing by double digits in each of their first two Hardee's Classic games. Happy Valley had a chance to send it into overtime, missing a tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"I thought our effort level was much better than the last two games," HV head coach Chuck Babb said.
"Mistakes were more limited. We made two or three in the last two minutes that were critical, but all in all, I was much happier with the effort.
"Taylor, we knew who he was when we got here, and two of our timeouts were spent talking about him and what they were going to do to get him the ball. But, he's a great player and credit to him how he made some big shots down the stretch.
"Happy Valley emerged from the first quarter with a 14-12 lead.
After University High led most of the second quarter, the Warriors regained the lead on a Josh Hammonds bucket. Nathan Kyte knocked down a 12-foot jumper at the buzzer to give HV a 26-23 lead at the half.
The Junior Bucs had their own buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter, when Luke Willoughby knocked down a 3-pointer to close within 42-40 heading into the final eight minutes.Willoughby gave University High the lead for good with a 3-point play to put the Junior Bucs up 64-61 in a second half.
Still, it came down to that final buzzer, which Penley said will serve his team well once they get to league play.
"Often times, it comes down not to coaching as much as guys making plays," he said.
"Night in and night out, you know you're going to face solid game plans and guys are going to put their guys in spots. Hopefully, your guys make plays more than the other team."
Joseph Phillips added 15 points and nine rebounds in the University High victory.
Tyler Marlowe led Happy Valley with 18 points, while Corey Matherly posted a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Brandon Young matched the rebounding total, while freshman Austin Hicks scored nine points for the Warriors.
© 2013 Johnson City Press
Crockett beats Devils at Hardee's
November 26th, 2013 11:00 pm by Jeff Birchfield
University High 70
The Rangers (4-4) went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final 64 seconds after the Junior Bucs (1-4) had erased a 17-point deficit.
Unaka held a 29-13 lead over University High 29-13 in the first quarter and 45-33 at halftime.
Logan Carrier led Unaka's charge over its Watauga Valley Conference rival with 27 points. Alex Baltaji worked the interior for 25 points.
In the final minute, freshman point guard Joe Searfoss and senior forward Eli Rasnick were perfect from the free-throw line.
"I keep saying if these guys will stay together and be all in with what we want to get done, we will be pretty good," Unaka head coach Aaron Dugger said. "We just have to keep getting better. The main thing right now is our shot selection when we have a big lead. If we clean that up, we're going to be all right."
Marcus Taylor tallied 27 points, including six shots behind the 3-point line, and Joseph Phillips came through with 15 for University High.
Still trailing by a dozen heading into the final quarter, the Junior Bucs went on a 16-2 run to briefly take the lead.
"What it really boils down to is Unaka was ready to play tonight and we weren't," UH head coach Justin Penley said. "We went through the motions and weren't sharp early. By the time we woke up and started doing good things, we had spotted them too much. Give Unaka credit, when we briefly took the lead, they made the plays down the stretch to get the win."
© 2013 Johnson City Press
November 25th, 2013 10:51 pm by Jeff Birchfield
David Crockett 66
University High 52
The Pioneers (5-1) scored seven points in the last 15 seconds of the third quarter to pull away from the Junior Bucs (1-3) in the nightcap.
Before then, University High had cut a 14-point Crockett lead in half.
"That's what you play for, those 6-0 to 8-0 runs," Pioneers head coach John Good said.
"If you can get one of those each quarter, at the end of the game, you've got a lead. The kids just really got it. It's one of those things when you score, you play better defense."
Sophomore guard Patrick Good led the way for the Pioneers with a 22-point performance, including six points in an 11-2 run to put the game away in the final quarter. Luke Hopson tallied 10 points and Isaac Barkley added nine in the Crockett victory.
"It was a grind," Coach Good said. "I knew (UH) coach (Justin) Penley would have them prepared and they came out body blow after body blow. But, our kids just ground it out. We played hard and that's what we're going to be about, playing hard."
Joseph Phillips was the leading scorer for the Junior Bucs with 18 points.
Fellow senior Marcus Taylor finished with 17 for UH.
Crockett will face defending tournament champion Greeneville in today's late quarterfinal. University High will meet Watauga Valley Conference rival Unaka in a losers' bracket contest.
© 2013 Johnson City Press
Home games are played at Brooks Gym on the ETSU campus, listed as Building #9, Brooks Memorial Hall on the ETSU Main Campus Map .