Unaka boys, girls post wins in WVC jamboree

By Wes Holtsclaw

   The Watauga Valley Conference jamboree on Thursday night was pretty much what was expected. However a few teams boosted their esteem going into the regular season of play.
   Unaka (Girls) 19
   North Greene 15

   The Unaka Lady Rangers opened the second fifteen-minute minute period with a hard fought 19-15 advantage over the North Greene Lady Huskies.
   The period opened with good back-and-forth reactions from both squads. Danielle Ensor and Julie Roberson had some key buckets for Unaka, while Kimberly Wilcox and Chelsea Wright made some big moves for the Lady Huskies.
   It was a good defensive battle between Unaka's Renee Ensor and North Greene's Haley Williams, as the two guards put on a defensive showcase for the crowd of Brooks Gym.
   Jessica Osborne had seven points for the Lady Rangers throughout the period, including some late clinchers to help Unaka take the 19-15 advantage.
   University High (Boys) 30
   North Greene 27

   North Greene took an early advantage in this contest, but the University High Jr. Bucs proved that they were competitive without senior center Brandon Bradley.
   Danny Quick played a stellar period with eight points for University High. Matt Tillman added six points and a strong defensive effort for the Jr. Bucs. Aaron Spears had six points off of two treys for the Huskies.
   Cloudland (Girls) 23
   University High 9

   The Cloudland Lady Highlanders made their defense work tonight, as the struggled in a 23-9 period over University High. Cloudland shot 8-27 in the period, and had a close outing with the Jr. Lady Bucs early.
   Amy Storie and April Williams had solid performances, scoring eight and six respectively for Cloudland.
   Lady 'Lander coach Matt Birchfield believes there were some good things from his team.
   "I thought they did well," he said. "Our defense turned out, but we didn't shoot well. I thought that the defense was what kept us in it. We played a lot of our kids, and we've got some good depth."
   "University High was tough, Unaka and North Greene looked really tough tonight. North Greene looked like they could be the real deal, and we knew about Unaka."
   Unaka (Boys) 27
   Cloudland 9

   The Unaka Rangers had a solid effort in the finale of the night with a 27-9 period over the Cloudland Highlanders.
   Both Cloudland and Unaka were missing some of their key starters. Unaka's Cody Collins and Chris Arnold sat out for the night, while Cloudland still has some players on the football field.
   The first two minutes of the contest was close as Jon Pritchard and Aaron Stockton dropped some baskets for the 'Landers, but Unaka was too strong.
   After some good shots from Josh Jones, Rusty Holtsclaw and Derrick Cline (who tallied eight points), Rusty Chambers opened up on Cloudland with 13-points in the period to lead Unaka.
   "I think it was a good warm-up tonight," said Chambers, "We knew Cloudland didn't have their players, but we knew that we had to take it seriously no matter who they had."
   Chambers believes once Collins and Arnold get on the floor, they will be pretty solid.
   "It's going to be the key once we get them back. We tried to get the bench some time tonight, and we should be ready to go."
   "Youth, Youth, Youth," said Ranger coach Donald Ensor after the period, "We showed it out there tonight. I'm sure it hurt us a little since (Collins and Arnold) were the only other two with any varsity expirience. We've still got some growing to do."
   Unaka opens their regular season tomorrow against Knox Bearden in Mountain City.
   "They are going to be a mouthful," Ensor said. "We're definately going to have to play much better. They are as tough as about anybody we'll see this year."