‘Landers sweep Rangers in cross-county roundball contest

Published 12:42 am Thursday, January 9, 2020

STONEY CREEK – As high school hoops around the area began to get back into full swing a week after the calendar flipped over, two county teams would face off Tuesday night.
The Unaka Rangers and the Cloudland Highlanders, two teams which are cross-county rivals, battled it out Tuesday night at Unaka High School in both boys and girls varsity roundball action.
Per usual, the girls’ teams from each school would play first and it was a deadlocked contest until the Lady Highlanders offense sparked to give Cloudland a narrow 7-3 edge after the first quarter.
The Lady Rangers offense was set ablaze in the second quarter as a result of terrific shooting from beyond the arc.
Unaka’s momentum was strong but the Lady ‘Landers momentum came back just as strong. Going into the break Cloudland was still on top, 21-14.
The Lady Rangers came out of the break beginning to come back from the deficit they placed themselves in during the first half.
However, the attempt at a comeback would be just that as the Lady Highlanders play was too much to overcome, ending the first game at a 48-38 final in favor of Cloudland.
Jasmine Birchfield led the Lady Highlanders in the scoring column with 22 points in the win while Gracie Freeman contributed with 7.
In the loss, Lyndie Ramsey put up 19 points for the Lady Rangers while Macey Ensor finished with 10 points in the contest.
After a short break, it was time for the boys’ matchup to take place.
In a game between two great Carter County teams, this game was sure to excite fans all through the gymnasium.
The second game started out as a defensive battle. Scoring from either team didn’t come in bunches until late in the first period. After all was said and done, the score after one was 11-5 in favor of the Highlanders.
The second quarter contained just as much defensive intensity as the first but this time the Rangers would prevail as they had cut the lead to three points going into halftime, 18-15.
The third period was almost a repeat of the first two as both teams seemed to be trading points and handing over the lead to one another. Eventually, the Landers would gain a slight advantage at 34-30 going into the final quarter.
The final quarter in the contest was the most exciting one of them all.
Like most of the game before, neither team was able to gain separation, which called for an exciting final two minutes.
In the end, it was the Highlanders who would slip away unscathed for the big win over their county foe 56-52.
For his team in the win, Cloudland’s Bentley Gilbert led his team in the scoring department with 16 points followed by Hunter Shell who finished with 13.
In the loss for the Rangers, Will Sexton contributed 19 points to his team’s effort.

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