Unaka girls thwart Unicoi

  ERWIN--They were a little rusty from the perimeter, but if Friday night was any indication, the Unaka Lady Rangers will be tough to deal with this season.
  Led by 10-point efforts from senior center Julie Roberson and post Coty Townsend, the Lady Rangers topped an always tough Unicoi County squad 38-29 in their season-opening, Hall of Fame game at the Devils Den.
  It was the first time a Glenn Fisher coached Unicoi team has lost to Unaka.
  "Unaka came out and played well," said Fisher. "You've got to give credit to coach (Ken) Chambers for the work he's done with that program. They are tough and they have good, solid players."
  "I thought we did some good things," he said. "But they were the best team out there tonight. There was no match."
  Unaka, a traditionally solid team from outside, made just five of 18 shots from three-point land. However, they dominated the boards in spurts.
  "I thought we played well. Unicoi's got a good team and they gave us problems at times,? said Lady Rangers coach Ken Chambers. "We stepped up our defense and controlled the game."
  "I thought we rebounded well at times, but there were times when we were missing (from the boards)," he said. "We've still got some things to work on, but we're happy with the win."
  It was a good test late for Unaka, who next enters a strong Pickett County tournament next week.
  Unicoi battled back from an 11-point deficit in the second quarter to cut it down to a one-point game in the fourth quarter.
  The Lady Rangers found their outside shot late in the fourth with two big treys stretching it out enough to make Unicoi send the Stoney Creekers to the charity stripe.
  Only five players from each team scored in the low-scoring affair, which was an 18-9 game at the half.
  The contest was defensive early, as neither team shot well.
   Unaka was one-of-nine from the three-point arch in the opening period but was six-of-seven from the free-throw line to make it a 9-5 game after the first quarter.
  Roberson stepped up her play with three inside buckets to pace the team on an 11-4 scoring run in the second quarter to build the 11-point lead. But late free throws in the frame cut it to nine going into the third.
  Unicoi opened the gates out of the locker room with seven points from Amber Kerns to force a Lady Ranger timeout. Townsend had seven of her points to keep Unaka in front by four at 27-23.
  In the fourth, Alicia Engle hit her second tray of the night to make it a one-point game for the Lady Devils, but Jessica Osborne and Renee Ensor each hit three-pointers to make it a seven-point game.
  Unicoi County started fouling and that was all she wrote.
  Engle and Kerns led Unicoi with eight points apiece, while Payge Bennett and Kellye Lingerfelt each contributed five and Melissa Headly had two.
  For Unaka, Jessica Osborne tallied eight, Renee Ensor came through with seven and Danielle Ensor had three.
  The Lady Rangers wound up 12-of-17 from the stripe in the contest compared to an 8-23 effort from the Lady Devils.