Rangers shock McCallie

By Tim Chambers
STAR Correspondent

   With one sling and a stone, a tiny boy by the name of David slew the Philistine giant by the name of Goliath. This Biblical story has been a favorite among young and old for many years.
   Saturday night, in front of a large crowd and hostile student section, tiny Unaka knocked off private school powerhouse Chattanooga McCallie 48-46 to leave the stunned sections of McCallie fans in disbelief.
   "We fought our guts out," stated a drained but happy head coach Donald Ensor. "We made good decisions with the basketball and were patient against a much more athletic group.
   "This is a big win for Ranger basketball."
   McCallie jumped on top but Rusty Chambers tied the score with a nice runner in the lane. The Blue Tornadoes extended the lead to six but key hoops by Josh Jones and Cody Collins pulled the Rangers within four (10-6) at the end of the first period.
   Unaka stepped up the offense in the second stanza, outscoring McCallie 18-12 in the period. Collins with six points and Derek Cline with four gave the Ranger offense a charge inside the last two minutes of the half.
   "We needed a win," said Cline. "We kept playing hard and never let up."
   Two key buckets by Tyler McCann and Josh Lowe pushed the halftime advantage to 24-22.
   McCallie came out firing on all cylinders in the third, led by sharp-shooting guard J.P. Harrison, who tallied 11 points in the third. The Rangers fought hard behind a three by Collins and some clutch free throws by Chambers and Cline.
   A thunderous dunk from 6-6 center Aynga Okpokuiuiruk brought the crowd to its feet, but Chase Reeves' key bucket kept the Rangers close at 40-36 going into the final quarter.
   Rusty Holtsclaw's deuce pulled Unaka within two to start the final frame before three Chambers free throws gave Unaka its first lead at 41-40. The lead would swap hands three times before two McCann free throws gave Unaka a 45-44 advantage.
   McCallie answered with a bucket from Graham Keith to lead by one, but Unaka refused to fold. With 22 seconds in the game, Chambers drove the lane to find a wide open Jones, who was fouled as his shot rolled off the rim.
   Cool as a cucumber, Jones hit 2-of-2 to give Unaka a 47-46 lead.
   "This was a total team effort," said Jones. "They were a very good team."
   McCallie misfired on its next attempt, fouling Cline after a Chambers rebound. Cline hit 1-of-2 to up the lead at 48-46. McCallie had two chances at the end, but a long three followed by an off-balanced jumper missed the mark, giving Unaka a key win.
   Collins led the Rangers with 11, followed by Chambers with 10. Cline had a nice effort with seven while Jones and McCann chipped in with six each.
   "We never quit," said Collins. "This is a great win."
   McCann added, "Our post players done a great job at defending a much taller team. I don't think anyone gave us a chance to win."
   Lady Bruisers 79
   Lady Rangers 60
   The Lady Rangers found the going tough against a very athletic squad from GPA. The Bruisers jumped out to a 25-14 lead after one period of play.
   Unaka mounted a comeback in the second period behind the offensive play of Julie Roberson, Coty Townsend and Danielle Ensor. The Rangers cut a 14-point lead to seven behind two buckets from Danielle Ensor, a putback by Roberson and a long trey by Townsend to close the gap to 38-31.
   GPA continued to show its speed and agility by running the fastbreak to perfection, which resulted in some easy baskets. Jessica Osborne's six points keyed the Ranger offense but a hot-shooting group of Bruisers would not be denied.
   The score was 57-43 after three.
   GPA continued its double-digit lead in the fourth as Unaka could pull no closer than 15. Roberson continued her outstanding efforts in the post, but too much speed and hot shooting by the Bruisers kept the Rangers from mounting a comeback.
   Roberson led the Rangers with 16, followed by Osborne and Townsend with 10 each. Danielle and Renee Ensor tossed in nine and eight, respectively, to help the Ranger offense.
   Marissa Thompson led all scorers with 22 while Carly Morrow was a close second with 20. Allyson Heard tossed in 15 to pace a well-balanced attack.
   "We didn't play smart," said Lady Ranger coach Kenneth Chambers. "We made too many mistakes and took some bad shots which will hurt you against a good team."