Junior Rangers 'Tee' off on Comets

By Ivan Sanders
STAR CORRESPONDENT

   There was no bull about this contest for first place in the county small schools division. The Unaka Jr. Rangers were ready to tee off on the visiting Comets of Central.
   Behind the hot hand of Tee Blevins and the outstanding all around effort of Aaron "Bull" Greer, the home standing Jr. Rangers took soul possession of first place with a 46-35 victory over the visiting Comets at Unaka Elementary on Monday night.
   The janitor would not have to sweep the floor on this evening as bodies were flying everywhere with first place on the line. Blevins had the hot hand early as he netted six points in the first quarter for the Rangers.
   Rodney Armstrong had an outstanding quarter for Central, as he would score four while teammate Justin Jaynes would pitch in with three. The Rangers would take a slim advantage after one, as they led 13-11.
   The second quarter was another nip-and-tuck affair with Blevins playing a steady game, again recording six in the period. Greer added four more points while Chris Buckles also found his rhythm netting four.
   Blake Brummitt came off the bench and played an outstanding quarter for the Comets, scoring six in the period. Chris Rutledge added four to keep the Comets within striking distance as the half ended with the Comets trailing 27-21.
   "This was a must win situation for us," stated Central head coach Lamont Barnett. " We knew Unaka had a great ball club and we were going to be in for a dog fight."
   The Comets would not go away. Coming out of the locker room with some stiff defense, the Comets whittled away at the lead as they got within two at the 3:10 mark of the third quarter and the scoreboard reading 31-29 in Unaka's advantage.
   Sammy Maricle took the ball solidly to the hole, as he would score four in the third period. The score was actually knotted at 31-31 after Coty Mann hit a shot to tie it with 2:35 showing in the quarter. Mann added four in the period for the Comets.
   Unaka managed to take the lead back after a Blevins bucket and at the end of three complete quarters, the Rangers held a small four point lead 35-31. It was then the "Bull" took control from there for Unaka.
   Greer, who had five boards in the first to go along with a blocked shot, officially became "Chairman of the Board" as he would add four rebounds and four big steals to slam the door in the Comets face.
   Besides his floor and board work, Greer would add three points, to go with his 12 earlier points, finishing the night with 15. Blevins would ring up six more to take high game honors with 20.
   The Rangers would hold Central to four total points in the fourth quarter, as they played outstanding defense. "I challenged the guys to step it up defensively in that last quarter, and they did," stated Ranger head coach Mark Revis.
   " Central is an athletic team who can defend and attack you, especially that number 32," Revis added. "We had big shots from everyone tonight, and when you have seven or eight guys ready to play you don't care who takes the shot. We really hit the offensive boards well tonight."
   Coach Barnett also had high praise for his team: " Our boys played hard and gave it all they had. We didn't take advantage of a couple of situations tonight, but overall I am really pleased. It really hurt when Rodney got in early foul trouble, but Chris stepped it up and was our go to guy."
   Rutledge led the Comets with 10 points. Brummitt, Mann, and Armstrong chipped in with six each on the evening.
   Besides the play of Blevins and Greer, the Rangers received seven points from Buckles, and Kyle Estep added four.
   In the seventh grade contest, the Rangers once again prevailed by a score of 45-33. Brandon Roper had 14 to lead Unaka followed closely by Kyle Wilson with 13.
   Jordan Lewis of Central was the games high man tallying 15. Matt Moore added seven and Josh Moore contributed six in the losing cause for Central.