Lady Rangers pin 68-57 defeat on Knox Catholic; Unaka boys lose by 12

Photo By Kristen Luther Happy Valley's John Bulla pulls up on Hampton's Zac Trivette for a short jumper.

By Tim Chambers
The luck of the Irish was not with Knox Catholic Tuesday night at Unaka High School. It might have been if Jessica Osborne and Julie Roberson had decided to stay home.
The inside-outside combination for the Lady Rangers combined for a total of 46 points to lead Unaka past the Fighting Irish 68-57 in a non-conference affair.
"With Jess (Osborne) hitting those threes, it opened up the inside game tonight," said Roberson. "I feel we can play much better than we did."
Catholic jumped on top 4-0 in the first period, but Unaka stormed back behind a basket and free throw from Roberson and a drive from Lacey Gouge. Unaka continued to add to its total as Osborne hit for three while Roberson and Danielle Ensor added hoops to extend the lead to 10-5.
Katie Dunn hit for Catholic but Tiffany Babb answered with two free throws to push the lead back to five. Roberson's four free throws followed by a Renee Ensor steal and layup pushed the lead up to 18-11.
Osborne silenced the Irish crowd in the last minute of the quarter with two 25-footers to give Unaka a 25-11 lead after one.
Catholic tried to come back in the second behind the shooting of Katie Barber but Unaka continued to pound away with Danielle Ensor and Coty Townsend doing the damage. Ensor had a stretch of six points in the period while Townsend added a bucket and three assists to help Unaka lead 35-24 at the half.
Unaka came out like a fine-tuned guitar to start the third, and the music was sweet for Ranger fans. It was the Ranger duo of Osborne and Roberson that played string music throughout the quarter.
They combined for 16 points in the quarter to extend the Unaka lead to 52-38 at the end of three periods of play.
Meanwhile, Roberson continued her outstanding play with six in the period as Unaka kept going for the kill. Osborne's fourth trey of the game at the eight-second mark sealed the deal for the big maroon.
Osborne, with 25, paved the way while Roberson added 21 for the Rangers. Danielle Ensor had a nice night with 11 points and nine rebounds on the evening.
"We played hard and rebounded well against a much taller team," stated Unaka coach Kenneth Chambers. "Julie (Roberson) and Jessica (Osborne) played well but Danielle (Ensor) had an outstanding evening on the boards. I challenged her to do a better job rebounding and she responded to the challenge. Megan (Johnson) did a nice job as well off the bench tonight for our team."
Barber led the Irish with 15 while Berarducci added 11.
Knox Catholic 69
Unaka 57
Like a fox on the run, it was the three-point shooting by Tony Fox that left the Rangers to die as the old song says. Hitting for six beyond the 25-foot mark, Catholic knocked off Unaka 69-57 at Snavely Gymnasium Tuesday night to run its record to 20-2 on the season.
It was the first period that spelled doom for the Rangers as Catholic raced to a 22-12 lead. Six points from Rusty Holtsclaw helped Unaka stay within striking distance of the Fighting Irish.
Unaka settled down in the second as baskets by Tyler McCann, Chase Reeves and Cody Collins cut the lead to 22-18 midway in the second period. Fox extended the lead to 27-18, but Unaka battled back on four points from Chambers to close within four at 27-22.
Four free throws from Paul Thames and a basket by Tremane Brown gave Catholic a 33-23 lead at the half.
Catholic opened up a 16-point lead early in the third quarter but Unaka refused to give up. Chambers for two, followed by four from Holtsclaw, sliced the lead to 10 at 39-29.
The lead grew to 15 but Unaka continued to battle with a nice tip-in from sophomore Aaron Greer to cut the lead to 11 just before the close of the quarter.
A three at the buzzer, which appeared to come well after the horn, gave Catholic a 57-41 lead after three.
Unaka refused to fold its tents and continued to battle in the fourth behind a bucket from Jones and a three-point play from Holtsclaw.
A three-pointer by Chambers allowed Unaka to close within nine but a long three by Fox, along with three free throws from Brett Connor, would ice the game for the Irish. Chase Reeves nailed a three late in the game, but it was too little too late for the Rangers.
Holtsclaw had an outstanding evening for the Rangers with 20 points while Chambers followed with 15. Fox tossed in 20 for Catholic, including six treys, while Connor added 15 and Thames and Parton chipped in with 13 and 11, respectively.
"We didn't shoot well tonight," said Unaka coach Donald Ensor, "and they were probably the cause for that. They were very quick. I felt like we let down a little coming off a big win. With Sullivan East and Cloudland up next, it doesn't get any easier."