Four schools advance into district finals

By Tim Chambers
Star Correspondent
Four district tournament elementary games were played Monday at Unaka High School, with Unaka and Central advancing in boys action while Hampton and Happy Valley move on in girls action.
With wins, Unaka will play Central in Friday's small school boys championship game at 5:45 p.m. The Happy Valley and Hampton girls will hook up at 7:15 in the large school championship.
Semi-final games will resume Wednesday, with the winners advancing to Friday night's championship contests.
Unaka 59
Range 17
The Ranger offense was clicking on all cylinders last night against the undersized Range Rebels. Behind 28 points from Jeff Peters, the Rangers cruised to a first-round win.
Peters tallied 20 by halftime while Travis Taylor and Adam Colbaugh tossed in some key buckets. Meanwhile, Range tried to stay close behind the efforts of Dustin Tolley and Matt Oaks, but Unaka proved to be too strong with their inside game.
Taylor added eight for the Rangers while Adam and Thomas Colbaugh chipped in with seven and six, respectively.
Tolley and Oaks with five paced the Rebels while Brett Humphreys added four to the cause.
Lady Jr. Warriors 35
Lady Jr. Longhorns 22
The Lady Warriors used a well-balanced offensive attack to down the Lady Longhorns in the second game of the evening. Happy Valley jumped out to a 7-2 lead after one behind six points from Dugger and a strong defensive effort by Nicole Hardin.
The Longhorn closed to within four in the second quarter behind six points from Jill South, but the Warriors went to the bank to produce points. Hannah Banks accounted for 11 second-quarter points to double the lead 20-10 at intermission.
The Warriors extended the lead to 25 to 12 on a long three and a putback by Courtney Byers. South continued her excellent play in the third by knocking down a three from deep while tossing in two nice layins to edge the 'Horns closer at 27-18.
A bucket by Nancy Blevins along with a nice baseline move from Keshia Miller got the 'Horns within five at 27-22 going into the final period.
Banks continued her outstanding performance with four in the opening minutes of the final stanza. Buckets by Hardin and Dugger bolstered the Warriors offense while the defense held the Longhorns scoreless in the final six minutes.
Banks with 17 paced the Warriors while Dugger added seven. Hardin and Byers added five each.
South had a good night with 14, followed by Eller with 2.
Lady Jr. Bulldogs 32
Lady Jr. Highlanders 29
The Lady Highlanders held the lead for three quarter before the Bulldogs nailed a couple of long threes in the final quarter to take a hard-fought win.
The game was tied early as Andrea Smith and Rebekah Tolley swapped buckets in the early minutes of the game. A Mikki Oliver layup followed by her foul-line jumper pushed the Bulldog lead to 6-2.
Bethany Bare added a deuce, but Josie McKinney answered with a layin to keep the 'Dogs up 8-4. A last-second basket by Shellie McKinney left the Dogs holding a slim 8-6 lead after one.
The Highlanders rode an eight-point effort in the second quarter by Bethany Bare to lead 18-13 at the intermission. A spectacular three-point play from Brooke Johnson brought the 'Lander faithful to their feet at the close of the half.
Hampton refused to quit, closing within two 20-18 late in the third quarter after a runner by Mary Beth Ingram found its mark. Cloudland stormed back behind baskets from Tolley and McKinney to extend the lead to four.
Cassie Johnson nailed a three from the wing to pull the 'Dogs within 24-22 going into the fourth quarter.
A Bare bank shot extended the lead to four, but the 'Dogs followed suit with a long trey from Brittany Crabtree to pull within one 26-25. A deep three from Mary Beth Ingram followed by a steal and layup from Oliver provided the final outcome for the Lady Bulldogs.
Oliver led the Dogs with 12 while McKinney and Ingram added six and five, respectively, for the big blue of legendary coach Ronnie Street.
Bare topped the Highlanders with 11, with McKinney tossing in six. Tolley and Johnson chipped in with five apiece.
Central 45
Keenburg 43
The third game of the evening provided a sea of orange for elementary basketball fans as Central and Keenburg hooked up in an old-fashioned barn burner.
Central jumped out to a 13-7 lead in the first quarter behind six points from Wesley Church. The Tigers struggled to rebound with the much taller Comets.
The second quarter saw a change of events as Josh Moore tallied 10 unanswered points to surge Central into the lead. After converting a three-point play to pull the Tigers within three at 15-12, Moore proceeded to hit a baseline jumper and a under-handed scoop shot to push the Tigers in front by one.
Cody Marley's two at the close of the half helped Keenburg to a 21-18 advantage.
The third quarter was nip and tuck thought the period, with the Windex man taking charge for Keenburg. Johnny Glass would dominate the offensive glass in the period with eight points, six the way of offensive rebounds.
Wesley Church continued his superb play with six in the quarter while Jared Cline provided four in the period. A beautiful pass from Josh Lowe to Glass gave Keenburg a 35-32 lead, but Cline's bucket near the end of the quarter edge Central within one at 35-34 to start the final period.
Marley started the fourth with a bucket from the wing but Central had an answer throughout the quarter. Cline would tickle the twine time and time again in the fourth to lead the Comet offense.
After Cline's baseline jumper, which upped the lead to 43-39, the Tigers roared back behind a long three by Jordan Lambert and a free throw from Marley with 10 seconds remaining in the game.
Cline was fouled with eight seconds remaining and the crowd noise rocking the windows. With ice water in his veins, Cline proceeded to knocked down two big free throws to up the lead to two.
A last-second desperation shot bounced off the rim and the Comets escaped with a hard-fought win.
Church took high-point honors for the Comets with 18 while Cline added 14 in the win. Caleb Johnson added nine points and 13 rebounds to cap off a great evening.
Glass tossed in 13 for the Tigers while Moore and Marley added 13 and 10, respectively, to aid the Tiger attack.