Unaka splits with Junior Buccaneers

Published 9:07 pm Monday, January 7, 2019

The Unaka Rangers dug a hole a little too deep to climb out of on Friday night at Snavely gym in a Mountain East Conference clash with University High. The Rangers (8-7, 0-2 MEC) fell to the Junior Buccaneers 64-51 despite a strong second-half rally.

The Bucs (9-3, 2-0 MEC) took a 21-8 first-period lead forcing several Rangers turnovers and Unaka hit just one basket – a 3-ball from forward Ryan Johnson – in the stanza.

“We have lost two league games in the first seven possessions,” Rangers head coach Aaron Dugger said. “You can’t have seven possessions with five turnovers and a quick rushed three. We have got to come out ready to play better and that starts with me.”

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The remaining three quarters were played at a dead heat but the first period was too much to overcome. UH led 39-23 at the half and the Rangers had no answer in the first half for Bucs post Jake Hubbard who had 10 first-half points and five offensive rebounds.

The Rangers chipped away at the lead in the third period but that stanza ended with UH on top by a 53-39 tally. Twice in the fourth quarter, Unaka got the lead down to nine, but each time they did the Bucs had an answer.

Senior forward John Ramsey scored a team-high 15 points before fouling out with 6:24 remaining in the fourth quarter. Isaac Hill scored 12 points and Johnson added 11 for Unaka. For UH, Marshall Fleenor had a game-high 17 points with Hubbard adding 16 and Kaleb Meredeth had 12.


Unaka 52,

University High 39

Guard Madison Pierce had a game-high 15 points on five 3-balls and senior post Myah Parlier added 14 points in a tough battle in the post with Lady Bucs post Mauvi Johnson. Johnson scored 10 points and had 11 rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals in matching up with Parlier.

The Lady Bucs (8-7, 0-2) led 24-18 at the half by holding the Lady Rangers (7-9, 1-1) to just four second-quarter points.

“We had a dead spell in the second quarter,” commented Lady Rangers head coach Kenneth Chambers. “They were packing it in on Myah, and we weren’t taking shots. We had a couple kids, Tara Whitehead was one, that came off the bench and made some good shots. We knew we would have our hands full, this is a tough conference from top to bottom and you have to be ready to play every night.”

Unaka outscored UH 16-6 in the third period to take a 34-32 lead into the final period with Pierce hitting her second trey of the game. In the fourth period Pierce canned three 3-ball’s to help the Rangers pull away for an easier that it looked win.


University High 64-51

University High (64)

Fleenor 17, Rice 2, Meredeth 12, Hubbard 16, Broome 3, Daniel 6, Vargo 6, Ryan 2.

Unaka (51)

Johnson 11, Hill 12, Sexton 8, Drew 2, Ensor 3, Ramsey 15.

University High 21 18 14 11 – 64

Unaka          8 15 16 12 – 51

3-point goals: UH 3 (Fleenor 1, Vargo 1, Daniel 1), U 3 (Johnson 2, Ramsey 1)


Unaka 52-39

University High (39)

Henley 2, Fisher 11, Rice 2, Newberry 4, Johnson 10, Crabtree 8, Trazin 2.

Unaka (52)

Pierce 15, T. Whitehead 6, J. Whitehead 4, Grindstaff 2, Parlier 14, Tipton 11.

University High  6 11 6 7 – 39

Unaka            14 4 16 18 – 52

3-point goals : UH 3 (Fisher 3), U 9 (Pierce 5, Tipton 2, T. Whitehead 2)