Jr. Rangers, Lady Jr. 'Dogs get job done on hardwood

  The Jr. Rangers found themselves in close quarters with Hampton, but a flurry to end the first half and start the second enabled Unaka to remain undefeated in a 59-36 final Thursday night on Stoney Creek.
  After only having a three-point lead with just over a minute left in the second period, Unaka exploded to enjoy a 35-23 lead at the break.
  The Rangers stepped up their defensive pressure to create turnovers, with Jeff Peters leading the way offensively with a game-high 21 points.
  "We didn't play that well the first half and Hampton did, but we did a better job during the third quarter by stepping up the defensive pressure," said Jr. Ranger coach Mark Revis. "When you get back-court steals then it becomes a momentum changer, and my bench had a big part in our effort tonight."
  Hampton drew first blood on the scoreboard when D.J. Puckett made a drive down along the base-line.
  A couple of baskets from Michael Bowers and three-point goal by Adam Colbaugh gave the Rangers a 13-5 advantage after period one, but the Bulldogs scrap back to keep themselves within striking distance.
  Everytime it appeared that Unaka was getting ready to break away, Hampton would battle back. A bucket plus a foul led to a three-point play by Cody Clemons, giving the Bulldogs some momentum with the half winding down.
  Unaka closed out halftime by going on an 11-2 run in the final minute of play.
  The Rangers didn't let up any to start the second half, as they scored the first 10 points of the third quarter.
  Finally, a Hampton basket came from Logan Andrews with 3:25 left in the third, but by this time the Rangers had built a 20-point advantage.
  Unaka continued to hang on to the margin throughout the final period for the victory, leaving the Bulldogs not exactly happy with the loss, but optimistic with their effort.
  "Odd as it is with the final score what it is, I'm pretty well pleased," said Hampton coach Leon Tolley. "This is our best effort so far this season. We knew coming in Unaka would be the best team we'd have to face, but we can take this effort tonight and use it as a building block."
  Lady Jr. Bulldogs 46
  Lady Jr. Rangers 31
  A strong finish at the end of the second period was a result of the Lady Jr. Bulldogs victory, which handed Unaka its second straight loss.
  Hampton enjoyed a 46-31 final over the Jr. Lady Rangers on Thursday, despite suffering with early foul trouble.
  "We had some big buckets in the second quarter, which was much needed, but we didn't play as well as I hoped at the start," said Lady Bulldog coach Ronnie Street. "We got in foul trouble early, but we didn't quit and played hard. This is a great group of girls."
  A basket by Natalie Johnson and a couple of free throws from Kayleigh Elsea gave the Rangers the early lead, but the Lady 'Dogs came back strong.
  Two three-point goals coming from Mikki Oliver and Cassie Johnson to end period one pulled Hampton out to take a five-point advantage.
  The Bulldogs opened up a 10-point margin after another three from Johnson, as she finished with 15 points on the night.
  A late run from Hampton give them a 28-12 advantage heading into the locker room, as some needed assistance came from Kelli Metcalf and Ashley Huffman off the bench.
  The Rangers came out with a three-point goal from Johnson to start the third period, but they were never able to close the gap.
  Unaka had some key rebounds on the inside from Brittany Hughes, as Unaka had an overall better effort throughout the second half.
  Hampton remained in control during the last period, but it was still a gutsy performance by the Lady Rangers, who stayed at even keel through the second half.
  "The second half we played good, and we had several players to step up tonight and started playing like they're capable of," said Unaka coach Don Parkey. "Hampton has a good ball team, but the girls didn't quit. And if we'd played like this against Johnson County the other night, then we would have had a shot at winning that ball game."