Rangers, Warriors split pair on hardwood

Published 12:16 pm Wednesday, November 30, 2016


When Happy Valley and Unaka meet on the basketball hardwood, one can always expect plenty of fireworks. The two squared off on Tuesday night at Bayless Gymnasium and ended the night splitting a pair of varsity contest.
Happy Valley..51
For the first three-quarters of the contest, the Lady Warriors of Happy Valley controlled the action and the scoreboard as Coach Larry Abel’s squad built a 26-14 halftime advantage and led 43-30 heading into the final eight minutes.
The Lady Warriors were finding their groove led by Kaitlyn Roberts 12 points and nine from Adrienne Henegar.
Meanwhile, Sarah Tipton of Unaka popped in nine points to keep the Lady Rangers within striking range. Lexi Garland chipped in six through the first three-quarters as well.
The fourth period was the turning point as the Lady Rangers turned up the defensive intensity to outscore the home team 18-5 in the final eight minutes of regulation to even the score at 48-all to force an extra session.
Lady Ranger freshman guard Cyndey Forney came to life and sparked Unaka with seven points in the stanza while Madison Ensor contributed with five to force the issue.
In the overtime session, neither team seemed to be able to seize the momentum, but Garland was able to pull her team out front with three points while Ensor hit two key free throws to give the Lady Rangers the thrilling win.
“We had made some mistakes and taken a couple of quick shots,” said Unaka head coach Kenneth Chambers. “I knew that we were good enough if we could make a couple of stops that we could get back into the game.
“The girls just kept pecking away and pecking away. They believed in themselves, and we stepped it up on defense and did a whole lot better.”
And while there was excitement in the Lady Ranger locker room on the huge comeback, there were still questions in the Happy Valley locker room how they allowed the big lead to slip away.
“We had a lot of turnovers, but we took a lot of quick shots,” said Abel. “When you get a big lead, you want to take great shots and not just good shots.
“We started to settle for some quick shots and shot ourselves out of the game,” added Abel. “I felt like we came out in the third quarter and played some of the best team ball we have all season. After that point, we didn’t play as a team and do what we were supposed to do.”
Garland led the victors with 13 points while Forney followed with 10 points. Sarah Tipton and Ensor contributed with nine each.
Roberts 12 points showed the way for Happy Valley with Emily Whitaker knocking down 11 and Bayley McGee swishing home 10.
Happy Valley…84
The night cap looked like it was going to be a mirror image of the opening contest as Unaka came charging back to slice off a sizeable Warrior lead before Coach Chuck Babb’s team settled to take the 84-73 win.
Dillion Barlow led a quartet of Warriors in double-digit scoring in the contest with 22 points. Austin Hicks used his muscle on the inside to dump in 15 points, while Chris Young and Brayden Sams contributed with 13 and 12 respectively.
Unaka stayed close thanks in part to an outstanding offensive performance from Kyler Lewis who poured in a game-high 34 points for the Rangers before being saddled with his fifth personal foul.
Gary Wright also had a solid night for Unaka as the junior guard hit for 12 points before fouling out as well. Austin Beauprez also reached double figures with 10 points.

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