Rangers control Huskies

By Travis Brown
STAR Staff
tbrown@starhq.com

   BAILEYTON -- The Unaka Rangers hit the road Friday night in search of a conference victory and they found a couple at North Greene High School, as the Rangers took both varsity contests with relative ease.
   In the girls contest, the heavily-favored Rangers got off to slow start as they only led by one heading into the second period. They would soon find their stride, securing a sound conference win by a 61-50 score.
   The second period was characterized by stellar outside shooting. The Lady Rangers lit up the Husky defense from the perimeter, scoring 15 of their 19 second-quarter points from behind the arc.
   Lacy Gouge started the second quarter with back-to-back treys. The Lady Huskies would stay close behind the play of Patricia Penley but still trailed at the break by nine.
   The third quarter saw both teams engage in a defensive struggle. North Greene continued to force the ball inside to no avail. The Lady Rangers remained content to take the shots they were given, meanwhile the Lady Huskies stuck with entry passing.
   Despite the commitment to the inside game, the game plan simply did not work. The Lady Rangers' interior defense remained stifling.
   Rangers coach Ken Chambers commented on his team's toughness.
   "We had our ups and downs," Chambers said. "I knew North Greene would play us tough, I thought all the girls stepped up tonight."
   The fourth period saw a host of foul shots for the Lady Rangers. Unaka hit 10 of 19 from the free stripe, and that was good enough to preserve an 11-point victory.
   Unaka (boys) 86
   North Greene 44
   The boys matchup saw the Rangers with advantages clear across the board. Size, speed, and depth all sided with the Rangers and they showcased the total package en route to a 42 point embarrassment.
   The Rangers played solid defensively all night but especially in the first and third periods. Putting 17 points on the board and holding North Greene to only seven in the first period, the Rangers established an early lead.
   Ranger head coach Donald Ensor was pleased with the defensive commitment his team displayed.
   "We played like a determined team tonight," Ensor said. "Our defense was the key."
   Moving into the second quarter saw both clubs find the groove offensively. Rusty Chambers deposited 10 points in the second stanza for Unaka while the Huskies managed to score 20 points in the second.
   Heading to halftime the Rangers maintained a commanding 40-27 lead. The third period would silence any comeback effort, as the Rangers outscored the struggling Huskies 23-4. With the issue no longer in doubt, wholesale substitutions came in during the final minutes of the third period.
   The Rangers would finish strong with the bench as 11 of the 12 players on the roster collected points. Ensor hopes this contest will springboard to bigger things this season.
   "This game was a total team effort," Ensor said. "We ran the floor well, and competed well on the boards."