Rangers lose heartbreaker, girls prevail

By Tim Chambers
STAR Correspondent

   CHATTANOOGA -- The Unaka Rangers had a tall task in front of them in Friday night's boys basketball game. The task at hand was to knock off two-time defending state champion Tennessee Temple on the Crusaders' home floor.
   Putting up a valiant effort, the Rangers overcame a 16-point deficit, only to fall victim 61-56 in the final minute of the game.
   "We fought hard," said head coach Donald Ensor. "I could give you 50 reasons as to why we didn't win the game, but we will go back and try to get ready for Chattanooga McCallie."
   Temple jumped out to a 7-2 lead but a jumper by Rusty Chambers followed by his long three tied the score at seven. Temple kept shooting well behind two treys from Dee Newson and a three ball from Stephen Cupp, but back came the Rangers.
   Cody Collins and Tyler McCann kept the Rangers close until Derek Cline's three found the mark to pull the Rangers within one at 15-14. Two Cline free throws gave Unaka a 16-15 lead after one period.
   Temple caught fire in the second quarter behind three bombs from Zack Mouw. Meanwhile, Caleb Skogens found his game providing eight points in the period to help the Temple cause.
   Unaka stayed close behind with the super effort of Chambers, who tallied nine points in the period. Chambers bucket at the :07 mark closed the gap to 34-27 at the half.
   Temple kept the hot hand in the third, opening up a 16-point lead behind six points from Mouw and another three by Newsome with 2:00 remaining in the third quarter.
   However, the Rangers refused to roll over and put on a comeback that left Temple fans shocked over the next six minutes.
   Two buckets by Chambers followed by a three from Collins cut the lead to nine. Cline and McCann continued the Ranger comeback with back-to-back buckets, followed by a Chase Reeves shot at the buzzer to pull Unaka within five at 49-44.
   Unaka continued to surge back in the fourth quarter behind six points from Tyler McCann and four from sophomore standout Josh Lowe. Unaka would take a 53-52 lead on a bucket by McCann before Temple would cash in on seven free throws on some rather bizarre occurances wthin the last two minutes to hold on for the win.
   Temple's 6-for-6 free-throw effort down the stretch closed out the final margin.
   Chambers led all scorers with 21 followed by Tyler McCann with 14. Cody Collins turned in a gutsy performance with six points, five steals and six assist.
   Chambers grabbed 10 boards to pace the Rangers while Collins and McCann added seven each. Collins picked up his fifth foul on a hand check with under two minutes remaining which hurt the Ranger chances.
   Mouw and Caleb Skogans lead Temple with 19 and 17 points respectively.
   "Unaka is a very good team," stated Temple coach Dan Wadley. "Rusty caused us matchup problems all throughout the game. Donald does a wondful job with that program."
   Unaka 66
   Temple 16
   The girls' contest was a complete mismatch from the start with Unaka dominating a much younger Tennessee Temple squad.
   Jessica Osborne lauched in four three-pointers in the first quarter as Unaka started strong and never looked back.
   Unaka was holding a 23-3 lead and contiuned to push the margin at 35-9 by halftime. Going on a 19-2 run in the third the margin grew to 42-11 as everyone on the Unaka bench had played by halftime.
   In all, twelve girls would get in on the scoring column led by Osborne with 15 followed by Tiffany Babb with nine. Julie Roberson, Sallie Taylor and Danielle Ensor each chipped in with eight.
   Angela Kemp scored seven of the 16 points for Temple.
   "We got to play everyone," said Unaka coach Kenneth Chambers. "They play a lot of young kids which will make them tough in years to come."