Rangers upset South Greene behind Searfoss

Published 11:44 pm Friday, February 19, 2016


GRAY – Unaka rallied from a 12 point deficit on Friday night to upset South Greene and advance to the regional as senior guard Joe Searfoss scored a game high 34 points.

“It’s big,” Searfoss said. “We have really had a tough season and we got the big win tonight. Now there is no telling what can happen. It all goes back to coach Dugger and a drill he runs in practice where we get three stops and a rebound and it’s a kill. Tonight he was telling us we needed a stop and we got it.”

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South Greene jumped out to a 16-7 first period lead only to see the Rangers battle back to close the gap to 29-23 by the half. Senior guard Joe Searfoss was on fire for Unaka with 14 points that included four trey’s in the first half.

Senior post Colton Chambers hit a bucket in the paint to start the Rangers on the comeback trail and closed the SG lead to 22-10. Searfoss then hit a trey and a pair of free throws shortly afterward to make it a 22-15 contest.

Zack Babb then hit a runner on the baseline for the Rebels and completed the three-point play. He followed that with another deuce before Searfoss connected from long range once again. He made back-to-back trey’s and Unaka now trailed just 27-21 with 2:10 left in the half.

Kyler Lewis hit a trey and Chambers a deuce after a bucket by South Greene post Jake Standbridge as the Rangers made it a 33-28 contest. Back-to-back buckets from Lewis and Chambers allowed Unaka to make it a 35-32 game at the 4:49 mark of the third period.

After a free throw from Aiden Shaw, Gary Wright dropped in a deuce for Unaka to make it a 36-35 game in favor of South Greene. Standbridge then hit a bucket in the paint and Sam McNeese hit a three-ball as the Rebels took a 41-37 advantage.

The fourth quarter began with the Rebels holding a 43-37 lead after a rebound and bucket from Todd Brown to end the third quarter. A Searfoss triple at the 6:26 mark of the final stanza made it a 45-44 game with SG still holding the slim lead.

A basket by Chambers gave Unaka its first lead of the game at 46-45 with 4:51 left but a trey by Shaw gave SG a two point lead once again. Free throws from Wright gave the Rangers a 48-48 tie with 4:06 left in regulation and moments later Searfoss struck again from downtown and the Rangers led 51-48 with 2:29 left.

We challenged them to keep fighting and keep playing hard,” Rangers head coach Aaron Dugger said. “We knew if we settled in – each time we had played South Greene it was one or two possessions. These kids stepped up and fought. Colton goes and gets it as well as any kid I have coached.”

A free throw from Chambers was followed by a steal by Wright and Unaka called a timeout with a 52-48 advantage. Two free throws from Searfoss made it a 54-48 Unaka lead but SG answered with a bucket from Nathan Hall.

South Greene head coach Terry Hoese then was hit with a technical foul and Searfoss hit all four shots for a 58-50 Rangers lead. Shaw hit a deuce after another free throw from Searfoss to bring SG to within 59-52 with just over a minute left to play.


District 1-A tournament

Unaka 67-56

Unaka (67)

Lewis 12, Searfoss 34, Chambers 14, Hill 1, Wright 6.

South Greene (56)

Brown 14, Shaw 6, Hall 4, Babb 15, Standbridge 4, McNeese 3, Burns 10.

Unaka 7 16 14 30 – 67

South Greene 16 13 14 14 – 56

3-point goals : U (Searfoss 6, Lewis 1), SG (Shaw 1, McNeese 1)

North Greene defeated University High 70-47 and will take on Hampton at 5:30 pm. Unaka will face Cloudland at 8:30 pm