Jr. Rangers in semifinals

Photo by John Wade
Jeff Peters put together a big game for the Jr. Rangers.

  JOHNSON CITY--After finding themselves down at halftime in a winner's bracket game with a physical Church Hill squad, the Unaka Rangers exploded in the second half to advance to the Sweet Sixteen Shootout semifinals with a convincing 45-26 victory on Monday at Freedom Hall.
  The Rangers were trailing the Panthers 19-16 going into the third, when coach Mark Revis's crew woke up and outscored the Hawkins County cagers 15-2 to take a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter.
  "I don't know if they were intimidated by playing on that floor or not there in the first half," said Revis, referring to the main floor of the Freedom Hall arena. "They just weren't ready to play in the first. They came ready to play in the second half and it showed."
  Leading 31-21 heading into the fourth, the Rangers shut down every Panther except big Dillon Frazier, whose five in the period and seven in the half were the only Panther points given up by the stingy Unaka defense.
  Unaka outscored Church Hill 14-5 in the last six minutes to win by the final of 45-26.
  Jeff Peters had his second straight tournament game with over 20 points, scoring 21 on the night with eight field goals and three for four shooting from the line.
  "It seems like we play off of him," said Revis in reference to Peters. "Sometimes we catch ourselves standing and watching."
  Adam Colbough, Andrew Oliver, and Michael Bowers chipped in five apiece to aid Peters in the scoring column, while Jake Parker and Dillon Frazier topped Church Hill with 10 each.
  Unaka takes on John Sevier today at 5:15 p.m., with the winner advancing to the tournament championship on Wednesday.
  The Hunter Tigers bounced back strong from a big first-round lossat the hands of powerful Science Hill, taking out their frustrations on the Indian Trail Hawks with a 54-26 win.
  Kelly Rapert led the Tigers to a commaning 17-3 lead at the end of the first period, scoring 13 of his game-high 28 in the opening six minutes of the contest.
  "When Kelly comes out with his 'killer instinct', we can be pretty good," said Hunter coach Chris Collins. "If he hides, we can get in trouble."
  The Tigers led 24-9 at the half and 37-17 at the end of three periods, and Rapert had scored 27 points heading into the fourth.
  Collins' bench players did a good job after relieving the starters just after the start of the fourth, converting 10 of 14 free throw attempts in that period on their way to outscoring Indian Trail 17-9 to wrap up the victory.
  Dustin Taylor led the finish in the final frame, tossing in five points and collecting several rebounds on both ends of the court.
  "Dustin's a real good athlete," said Collins. "He doesn't score a whole lot, but he does a lot of good things for us out there."
  Hunter upped its record to 10-4 with the win and advances in the consolation round to face Cloudland Tuesday at 2:15 p.m.
  Johnson County squared off with Unicoi and came away with a hard-earned 43-38 win in a contest that was largely decided at the free throw line.
  Coach Chris Mullins' Longhorns hit three of four charity shots in the final period, while the Patriots struggled, hitting only one of six opportunities in the fourth, and only two of 12 for the game.
  Austin Phipps, who led all scorers with 15 points, scored the game's first bucket after less than 25 seconds had elapsed.
  The see-saw first quarter then saw six lead changes before the first horn sounded with the Longhorns ahead 10-9.
  JC's Christian Prudhomme heated up in the second, scoring eight points to lead the 'Horns to a 24-19 halftime edge.
  Cameron Miller had six of his team-high 11 in the first two periods for Unicoi.
  Unicoi cut the lead to two, 26-24, with 3:29 left in the third, but that was as close as the Patriots would get, as Johnson County closed out the quarter with six unanswered points to take a 32-24 lead into the final period and hold on for the 43-38 win.
  Prudhomme finished in double-figures with 10 to aid Phipps in the Longhorn scorebook, and Jessie Poteet tossed in eight.
  Keaton Corn added seven to follow Miller in the Patriot ledger.
  Johnson County advances to face Vance, 44-26 winners over University School, in a 12:15 p.m. Tuesday consolation match.
  In a pow-wow of rival Warrior clans, John Sevier kicked Happy Valley out of the winner's bracket teepee with 41-9 scalping.
  The tall, deep squad from Kingsport used tough defensive pressure in limiting the Happy Valley cagers to only one first-half field goal on its way to an 18-2 halftime lead.
  "John Sevier has a very good team, but you have to feel like you can get out there and compete no matter what," summarized HV coach Rik Anderson. "I felt like we were beat before we ever walked out there, and our play was indicative of that."
  John Sevier was led by Matt Osborne and Dustin McConnell with eight each. Adam Williams led HV with three.
  Cloudland rolled to a 26-4 halftime lead over Gate City on its way to a 56-16 pounding of the Blue Devils.
  Lucas Clawson and Randall Johnson led the Highlanders with 13 and 12 points, and Jordan Potts was almost the entire Devil offense, scoring 12 of his team's 16.
  Science Hill (No. 2) used a 15-9 fourth quarter edge to pull away from T.A. Dugger for 36-28 win in the nightcap, sending the Cyclones to the consolation bracket, where they will face Robinson in a 5 p.m. matchup today.
  Julian Smith led the 'Clones with 10, while Noah McKee and Jeremiah Greenlee matched that total for the Toppers.
  Science Hill (No. 1), who defeated Robinson 47-36, will face Science Hill (No. 2) in a 7:15 p.m. family feud to see who advances to face the Unaka/Sevier winner in the championship.