Second-half charge helps Unaka beat NG

By Tim Chambers
STAR Correspondent

   It took Rip Van Winkle many years to awake from a deep sleep. It took the Unaka Rangers 16 minutes to wake up from a subpar first-half showing.
   Outscoring North Greene 38-19 in the second half, the Rangers cruised to a 69-46 win over the Huskies Tuesday night at Snavely Gymnasium.
   North Greene jumped out to a 4-0 lead inside 30 seconds on two buckets by Matthew Ormsbee. Josh Jones gave an outstanding performance in the first quarter, dominating the offensive board enroute to seven first-quarter points, vaulting the Rangers to a 11-8 lead with 3:10 remaining in the first quarter.
   After a steal and layup by Josh Lowe, Rusty Chambers followed with a jumper to up the margin to 15-12. A steal from Tyler McCann followed by a feed to Chambers for a deuce at the buzzer gave Unaka a 17-12 lead after one.
   Derek Cline proved to be a thorn in the side of the Husky defense slashing through the Husky defense for eight second half points as Unaka took a 31-27 lead into the locker room.
   Matthew Burns scorched the Rangers defense for 18 points to keep the Huskies close.
   "Coach challenged us at halftime," stated Jones. "He said that the mark of a champion is they don't cruise or overlook anyone. We stepped it up in the second half. They played us a good game."
   After sitting out almost the entire second quarter with two fouls, Chambers sparked the Unaka attack with his inside penetration and some nice baseline jumpers. He opened the second half with six consecutive points to up the lead to 37-27 at the 6:00 mark.
   Chase Reeves' floater in the paint kept the lead at 41-31 at the 4:10 mark. Displaying patience on every offensive possession, North Greene scored at the 57-second mark to trail 44-33.
   A nice spin move by Rusty Holtsclaw at the buzzer gave Unaka a 46-33 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
   Unaka caught fire in opening minutes of the fourth quarter behind a feed from Cline to Chambers, who converted a three-point play to up the margin at 50-35.
   Unaka continued to dominate with Chambers, Cline, Jones and Josh Lowe converting four buckets within a two minute span to pad the lead to 58-37 with four minutes remaining in the game.
   The Rangers pushed the margin to 67-38 with 2:42 remaining in the game. Burns tallied seven points in the final two minutes to prevent the Rangers from extending their lead.
   Chambers topped the Rangers with 21 points while Jones and Cline added 14 and 12, respectively. Jones gathered a game-high 15 rebounds on the evening while Chambers added seven. Unaka outrebounded the Huskies 33-26 to win the battle of the boards.
   Burns led all scorers with 27.
   "Its a big conference win, said Unaka head coach Donald Ensor. "I'm not satisfied with the way we are playing. We will learn to play defense in the upcoming days. There are no excuses for getting outhustled."
   Lady Rangers 51
   Lady Huskies 40
   Looking like Jeff Gordon racing toward the finish line, the Lady Rangers sprinted to a 16-2 lead in the first five minutes of the game and never looked back to down the Huskies in a Watauga Valley Conference showdown.
   Renee Ensor opened the game with a long three, followed by two baskets from Julie Roberson and one from Coty Townsend to stake the Rangers to a nine-point advantage.
   Jessica Osborne found the mark with a downtown three followed by a runner to extend the lead to 14.
   The Huskies answered with a three by Ashlan Hopson and a layin from Vanessa Dykes to cut the lead to 16-7. Tiffany Babb's bucket at the buzzer gave Unaka a 18-7 first-quarter advantage.
   Renee Ensor opened the second quarter with a three-point play to up the margin to 21-7. The Huskies clawed their way closer thanks to two treys by Haley Williams to cut the lead to 23-14. Two hoops from Lacey Gouge and Danielle Ensor gave Unaka a 29-19 halftime cushion.
   North Greene edged within seven at 33-26 to start the third quarter, but Townsend stopped the bleeding with a long dagger to push the lead back to 10. North Greene was assessed a technical foul and Osborne converted the free throws to keep the lead at nine 40-31 after three.
   Defensive pressure would accounted for three steals by Renee Ensor resulted in some easy buckets for the Rangers enroute their 11-point victory.
   Roberson with 12 and Renee Ensor with 11 led the Rangers while Osborne added nine to the cause. Williams topped the Huskies with 11 while Chelsey Wright contributed 10 in a losing cause.
   "We got to learn how to put teams away," stated Lady Rangers head coach Kenneth Chambers. "We got a big lead and got too relaxed."
   The Rangers will travel to Johnson County Thursday night to do battle with the Longhorns in a non-conference affair.