Jr. Rangers vanquish JC Lady Jr. 'Horns prevail

  It was their second test on the season, and with another strong second-half showing the Jr. Rangers found themselves victorious in a 39-28 final over Johnson County Tuesday night.
  Unaka is one of the teams everybody will be gunning for as this season moves along.
  The Jr. Longhorns had their first shot at the Jr. Rangers, but the defensive pressure of the Rangers caused them to fail.
  "Defensively I thought we played well, but our offensive execution wasn't what it needed to be at first," said Unaka coach Mark Revis. "Offensively I wish we would have executed a little better, but our effort was great, so overall I'm pleased."
  It was exciting first-half action from both clubs, as Unaka came out strong, building a 7-2 lead in the first three minutes.
  A steal and basket from Adam Colbaugh and free throw by Jeff Peters gave the Rangers the early advantage.
  Colbaugh became the game's highest score with 16 points, while Michael Bowers poured in 12 and Peters 10.
  Johnson County came back with a flurry from Jesse Poteet, who received a pass inside from Seth Captain to bring the 'Horns within one.
  The lead swapped hands with 45 seconds left in the period, when Poteet made a backcourt steal and field goal.
  Poteet led the Longhorns in scoring with 10 points, while Austin Phipps added eight.
  The score was tied at the end of the period after a free-throw came from Ranger Travis Taylor, as both teams had a good battle going out on the floor.
  An early bucket by Travis Grindstaff on a turnaround shot down low off the glass was all the offense that come from Johnson County in the second period.
  Unaka built a five-point lead by scoring seven straight to end the half, and head into the locker room with the momentum.
  The 'Horns fell behind after a couple of quick baskets from Colbaugh and Peters, but two field goals from Phipps and bucket from Grindstaff drew them back to within five.
  The Rangers finished period three strong, sinking some free throws, and they enjoyed a 29-20 lead.
  After going on a 10-2 run to start quarter four, Unaka successfully finished the night remaining undefeated, while the Longhorns took a loss in their first time out.
  "We had too many turnovers and they pressed us pretty good," said Johnson County coach Chris Mullins. "I was pleased with the defense, but it was the turnovers that killed us tonight."
  Lady Jr. Rangers 28
  Lady Jr. Longhorns 42
  The Jr. Lady Longhorns got off to a nice start by building an advantage and keeping Unaka at distance.
  It was a celebration of a 42-28 victory by the Longhorns from good guard play, while Jr. Lady Rangers struggled at times with their offense.
  "I'm pretty pleased and it's the first good game that I'm satisfied with," said Jr. Lady Longhorn coach Steve Nave. "We got off to a good start, which we hadn't done yet, and our guard play was good even though I had a post player get in foul trouble, but overall I'm pleased."
  Johnson County jumped out to an 11-3 lead during the first period as they were led by April Wilson, who finished with 14 points.
  It was a slow beginning by the Rangers, but a gutsy effort kept the game within reason of a possible rally.
  There was no question who was the go-to man for the Rangers, or woman in this case, as Kayleigh Elsea was relentless by pouring in 22 points on the evening.
  The Rangers found themselves with a 10-point deficit at halftime, after the second period ended with Elsea making a score off a pass from Natalie Johnson.
  After they opened up with a three-point goal from Wilson, Johnson County built its biggest lead of the night with three minutes left in the third period.
  A shot from the corner by Kendra Mabe and basket off the glass from Angie Church increased the lead, but a 6-0 run from the Rangers and basket at the buzzer by Brittany Hughes.
  The Longhorns held their advantage with Tynae Corum adding five points in the final period, while Unaka finished with only two players scoring.
  "We didn't come out ready to play and that's my fault, and we didn't play good defense and didn't hustle very well," said Lady Ranger coach Don Parkey. "We're going to go back tomorrow and learn how to play defense, and we've got to get some other people scoring."