Lady Rangers thwart Jellico

By Wes Holtsclaw

   HARROGATE -- The Unaka Lady Rangers entered their quarterfinal game with the Jellico Lady Devils looking like AC/DC and Angus Young, ready to 'shoot to thrill.'
   And thrill they did.
   After a tied contest going into the second half, the Lady Rangers exploded behind Renee Ensor, laying the smackdown on Jellico with the 55-46 win.
   "We came out pretty sluggish," said Unaka coach Ken Chambers. "I don't know if the ride had anything to do with it, the bigger floor, the bigger gym. But we weren't catching the ball, weren't playing hard.
   "But Renee Ensor stepped up and turned out an excellent performance. I've been on her all year about shooting the ball -- she can shoot as well if not better than anyone on the team. But she's reluctant to do so because she is the ball handler. I'm proud of her, I'm proud of the team. Hopefully we can step up in the next game when we play Hancock."
   Unaka came out fighting in the first quarter behind Ensor and Coty Townsend, but Stacy Perkins wouldn't back down for the Lady Devils, as Unaka took an 11-9 lead after one.
   It was a tough defensive battle in the second half, with Jellico stepping out strong behind Ashley Gulley and Amanda Fredericks stalling Unaka, tying the game at 21 all at the end of the half.
   The third quarter was a battle of supremacy, as Gulley duked it out with Ensor. The Lady Rangers would win this battle as Julie Roberson stepped up, scoring a pair of deuces to give Unaka the 33-31 lead going into the fourth quarter.
   The fourth quarter would be Unaka's shining point, as Kelly and Heather Taylor dropped some treys to go with Danielle Ensor's inside dominance, allowing Unaka to take the win at the Turner Arena.
   "We came out and played good defense from the start," said Renee Ensor. "We're just glad to get the win."
   Gulley and Perkins added 16 and 13 respectively for the Lady Blue Devils.
   Unaka battles Hancock Co. in the girls semi-final tonight at Lincoln-Memorial University. Gametime is 7.