Lady Blue Devils too much for Unaka

By Marvin Birchfield

   ERWIN- The Lady Rangers was handed their first loss of the season on Monday, as they were hammered by Unicoi County in a 66-38 final.
   The Lady Blue Devils dominated the boards on both offense and defense, which helped them get numerous second chance opportunities.
   "Our last few games we had gotten killed on the boards, and we talked about it before the game and that was probably the big difference tonight," said Unicoi County coach Glenn Fisher.
   Unicoi County spurted out to a 6-0 lead, after Candace Shelton scored the first six points of the game.
   Shelton finished with a game high 24 points, and she became simply unstoppable as Unaka had trouble in trying to contain her all night long.
   "We shot the ball a lot better than what we have been." Unaka has a good team, but we shot the ball well and they didn't," said Fisher.
   The Rangers captured their first basket, when Danielle Ensor grabbed a rebound and made the put back.
   Danielle Ensor came off the bench to lead the Rangers with ten points, along with Renee Ensor who also finished with ten scores.
   Unicoi County had another lift in the first period from Amber Bailey, as she captured six of the last scores of the period.
   Both Bailey and Shelton combined for all of the Blue Devils first quarter points, which propelled them to a 14-4 lead.
   "I thought early in the game we got so many second shots, and when you get they many you break the other teams back," said Fisher.
   The Blue Devils pushed the lead to 15 points to start the second period, when Bailey hit two shots from the outside.
   It took Unaka nearly three minutes to capture a basket, when Danielle Ensor went up strong to draw a foul and the bucket.
   The Ranger trimmed the deficit to ten, after Kelly Taylor knocked down a three-point shot.
   Kelly Taylor hit three trays on the night and finished with nine points.
   The Blue Devils responded by coming right back and hitting a three-pointer themselves with Elizabeth Weaver striking from outside.
   Julie Roberson never became a factor for Unaka, as she was held to just two points for the game, which came on a couple of free-throws.
   Roberson got herself in foul trouble early and would eventually foul-out in the final period, leaving the Rangers in bad shape in trying to keep Unicoi County off the glass.
   "They killed us on the boards, and we also got in foul trouble, but we couldn't shoot all night long and they couldn't miss," said Unaka coach Kenneth Chambers.
   The Blue Devils managed to push their lead to 16 at the end of the first-half, when Meghan Headley knocked down a three right before the buzzer sounded.
   Unicoi had a 33-17 advantage at the break, and Unaka was left scratching their head in trying to slow down the Blue Devil offense.
   The third quarter belonged to Shelton, as she scored 12 of the Blue Devils 15 points.
   Shelton was unstoppable on the inside and outside, for she managed to knocked down shots even when defended.
   The Rangers had little offense in the third, which was due to a stout Blue Devil defense that prohibited Unaka from getting any rhythm in their half-court sets.
   "We had a lot of trouble for they took us out of our offense, and our youth comes out in us sometimes, but we just got away from doing what we needed to do," said Chambers.
   It was 48-25 by the end of the third quarter, and things were not going the Rangers way, as they were having trouble in getting shots to drop and a non-factor with rebounds.
   In the last period of action, Unaka was unsuccessful in mounting a come back.
   Unicoi County continued to control the pace of the game, which sealed them the victory and handed the Unaka their first loss.
   "Maybe our kids will learn from this, and we'll see what we do tomorrow against Cosby, for if we step up then it's good, but if we lay down then it will be bad," said Chambers.