Rangers fall in Arby's debut

By Ivan Sanders
STAR CORRESPONDENT

   Unaka had one mission in mind when they took the court against Urspring, Germany. The mission: To prove their invitation to the Arby's Classic was well deserved.
   Unaka, down by 26 points at one time, stormed back to put some fright into the team from Urspring. The German youngsters were able to hold on however, to win 69-59 in the Arby's Classic at Viking Hall.
   "We started the game and lost focus on what the game of basketball is all about," stated coach Donald Ensor of Unaka. "We talked to them at the half and told them this game was not over if they would just start playing the way they were capable of playing."
   The Rangers dug themselves quite a large hole in the early going, as Urspring vaulted out to a quick 20-6 lead at the end of one quarter. Julius van de Laar did most of the damage for the German squad as he hit for eight points in the period.
   Rusty Chambers came off the bench for the Rangers, scoring their first four points of the contest. Ben Cole chipped in the other two points for the Rangers.
   Urspring was back at it in the second period as they went on a 12-5 scoring spree to up their lead to 32-11 with 3:50 left in the half. Hendrik Feist and Michael Spocker scored six points each to lead the Germans to a comfortable 40-17 half-time advantage.
   Aaron Dugger, held scoreless in the first period, finally found some success and netted five in the quarter as did Cole for the Rangers. The Rangers were successful in drawing no less than five charges in the first half against Urspring.
   "We got a good start to the game, but we were not use to the charging rules and five second calls that they use here in the United States," commented German coach Ralph Junge. "In Germany, we teach our players to go hard at the defender because those fouls are not called there like they are here."
   The Rangers apparently heeded their coach's advice at intermission because the second half belonged to the Rangers. Dugger heated up like a smoking pistol, blistering the nets for 14 points in the third period.
   Meanwhile, Germany became cold as ice, as they hit for only 11 in the quarter. Spocker once again led his team with five followed by Vincent Polakovic with four.
   "We didn't play very well in the second half," stated Junge. "We were fortunate to hold off Unaka to win.
   The Rangers once again came out with intensity in the fourth quarter. Cole would pace the Rangers with 11, followed by Dugger with seven and Dustin Collins with four. The Rangers outscored the Germans 42-29 in the second half.
   The score was actually 65-59 with :27 left in the contest after back-to-back treys from Collins and Cole. The Rangers then were forced to foul, allowing Urspring to put the game away at the charity stripe.
   "When I played over there in the summer, they played more zone defense than man-to-man," according to Dugger. "They came out in a tough, man defense, and took us out of our game. They are a very big, athletic team and they have a huge wingspan."
   The Rangers definitely proved they are a team deserving to be in one of the nation's premier basketball tournaments. "We don't want our kids to think this is over, because we still have some games left in this tournament," added Coach Ensor.
   "We didn't really know what to expect. This is a totally different atmosphere and I think we were kind of in awe at first until we got our feet wet," stated Dugger after the contest.
   Dugger lead all scorers with 26 followed by Cole with 20. Feist and Spocker led Urspring with 13 apiece.
   Ensor was happy with the play of Chambers and Josh Jones as well: " I thought Rusty and Josh did an extremely good job of rebounding against them. They didn't score much, but those rebounds helped plus they played several quality minutes."
   The Rangers will next match up against Gate City, VA at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday. Gate City was defeated in the first play-in game by Jack Hayward High School from the Grand Bahamas.
   "We'll come out and play our game," stated Coach Ensor. "We will be ready to play!"