Rangers beat Huskies

By Wes Holtsclaw

   The beginning wasn't too pretty, but the Unaka Rangers did what they had to do Saturday night in a 60-46 victory over North Greene.
   The Rangers trailed by as much as eight in the first half after the Huskies opened up with the momentum. However, Unaka rallied to take a two-point lead into the second half that they would never give up.
   "Well it got a little physical," said North Greene coach David McLain. "We didn't do a good job of playing our ball like we did in the first half. We went a little crazy and the pressure got to us.
   "We hit a few old people in the head up in the stands. I don't know for us, I thought we had some bad breaks there maybe."
   "We were sluggish and looked like a team that's not played in a while," Unaka coach Donald Ensor said. "We've been out of school, but in no way am I making an excuse. North Greene played harder than we did, more determined to win and it showed."
   Matthew Burns and Andy Williams was hard to tame early for North Greene. Aaron Spears chipped in a pair of buckets to take a quick 12-6 lead after the first quarter.
   Thomas Guess and Derek Cline came up with some big buckets for the Rangers in the second period, but Richie Roberts and Matthew Ormsbee helped the Huskies continue their hot streak.
   The Rangers got good penetration from Josh Jones and Chris Arnold inside to help Rusty Chambers take a 25-23 lead going into the locker rooms.
   The third quarter was all Unaka.
   Jones and Chambers overwhelmed the Huskies, who got in trouble after their sharpshooter Matthew Burns was removed from the game after a technical.
   Daniel McInturff contributed well for Unaka, who was led in the period by Chambers' 15 points to go up by 16 over North Greene.
   Dustin Collins and Daniel Middleton tried to help their squad, but Jones and Cody Collins piledrove them all over the court in collecting an unpretty win.
   Said Ensor: "I think Josh Jones played a nice game for us, he was probably the most complete of anybody that played tonight. He had several blocked shots, he rebounded well and he scored."
   Jones ended up with 19 points, four blocks, and well over double digits in boards.
   "We played sorry in the first half," said Jones. "We was trying something new and didn't work with it. We had to go back old school and play as hard as we could."
   Chambers' stellar quarter led to a game-high 22 points for the Rangers.
   "Things started off slow," Chamber said, "We just came out and played better in the second half. We knew what we had to do to come back and play better and we didn't want them to get any closer than they were."
   It was a solid showing for the Huskies, who got some solid minutes out of their youth.
   "My younger kids played good," McLain said, "My seniors didn't play the best, Collins didn't play well and then Burns got threw out there and it killed us. He's playing as well as anybody we've had and it's hard for us to win when he's not on the floor."
   Burns and Collins both netted eleven for the green and white.
   This next week will be very tough for the Ranger boys as they have two big road games against University High and Cloudland.
   Said Ensor: "We have UH on Tuesday and Cloudland on Friday, both are on the road. That'll tell the tale right there. We're gonna see what we're made of."
   Added Jones: "We gotta work our butts off in practice and get something to show that we're ready."
   "We just gotta take the practice mentality and put it into the game," said Chambers. "We need to concentrate on what we got. We got two big games this next week, so we gotta play hard both nights to get a win."
   Unaka (Girls) 58
   North Greene 32
   The Unaka Lady Rangers fell short in the first quarter, but rebounded back into the forefront to get a 58-32 victory over North Greene.
   "The first half we came out a little draggedy," said Unaka coach Ken Chambers. "We haven't played in a few days and were a little flat footed. It was hard for them to get going."
   "We got the ball inside," he said. "But we weren't finishing and we thought at halftime that the guards were doing their job, and now the post players had to do theirs."
   Unaka got a solid effort in the second half from Julie Roberson and Danielle Ensor. But perhaps the biggest clutcher for the Lady Rangers were two big buckets from Coty Townsend and a pair of dynamite treys from Heather Taylor.
   North Greene got a lot out of Kimberly Wilcox and Patricia Penley, assisting their point Haley Williams. However, everything the Lady Huskies seemed to do, Unaka would counter.
   Renee Ensor, Lacey Gouge and Kelly Taylor got some big shots in for the Lady Rangers, leading them to their big victory.
   "We kept getting it inside and scoring," Chambers said. "That's how they are capable of playing all the time if they'll just do it. The twins shot the ball well and Renee is just quick. It's hard for a lot of teams to guard her, she's got her confidence going and tonight was her birthday so she had a good game."
   Said North Greene coach James Buchanan: "I thought we played a decent first quarter and over a long stretch of time it's hard to compete with Unaka. They're deep, they're quick and they shoot the ball well inside."
   "Our defensive rotations were slow, and this is a tough place to play," he said. "I was pretty pleased with our first-half performance, we just never could get a rhythm going in the second half."
   Roberson led Unaka with her twelve while Heather Taylor also contributed 10 for the maroon. Renee Ensor and Kelly Taylor had nine and seven a piece for the Lady Rangers.
   The Unaka ladies also have two big conference games coming up on the road against University High and Cloudland, as they continue gunning for a piece of the Watauga Valley title.