Unaka sweeps past Cloudland

Published 12:19 am Sunday, February 6, 2022

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ROAN MOUNTAIN – Unaka scored a regular-season sweep over Cloudland with a 56-54 win on Saturday night at Sonny Smith gymnasium in Watauga Valley Conference basketball.
Senior guard Joe-Z Blamo scored a team-high 15 points with Devin Ramsey adding 12 more as the Rangers (9-13, 2-4 WVC) took a big win.
“We’ll see them again in the tournament,” Rangers head coach Aaron Dugger said. “This is always a rivalry game and it’s turned up with Spencer (Nave) having come here. It was a great atmosphere for the fans and the kids. Games with Cloudland are always going to be physical and it was a good game all the way around.”
The ‘Landers took a 12-9 lead after one period with senior forward Caleb Sluder scoring five points in the stanza and Cloudland took a 26-22 halftime advantage with Sluder leading the way with 10 points at the break.
Sluder finished with a game-high 17 points with sophomore post Dylan McClellan adding 16 to the ‘Landers scoring sheet.
Unaka busted out in the second half forcing 11 ‘Landers turnovers as Ramsey was extremely active defensively with several steals and Unaka turned up the defensive pressure across the board.
The Rangers began the fourth quarter with a 40-39 advantage and a fast-paced fourth quarter opened with a deuce from Landon Ramsey. Blamo then connected on a deuce for a 44-39 Unaka lead.
Cloudland then ran off four straight points to cut the lead to 44-43. Later in the stanza Unaka got a three-point play from Gavin Seigfried and a deuce from Landon Ramsey for a 49-46 Rangers lead with 4:15 remaining.
McClellan hit a two-point shot in the paint giving Cloudland a 52-50 lead but Blamo hit one for two from the line and moments later hit a shot from the line to give Unaka a 56-51 lead with 12.1 ticks left in the contest.
Sluder banked home a trey and with 1.1 seconds left and a heave from Eli Benfield went into the rafters as the buzzer sounded.
Unaka………. 53
Junior Lyndie Ramsey scored a game-high 32 points – including 18 first-half points to help lead Unaka (18-4, 5-0 WVC) take a road win. Ramsey connected on six-of-eight from the floor in the first half which included three treys.
The Rangers swept the Lady Highlanders in Watauga Valley Conference play this season.
Sophomore Izabella Christman scored 11 first-half points for Cloudland who trailed 27-23 at the break after playing to a dead heat 12-12 first quarter. Christman was a force on the boards as well with six first-half rebounds.
Christman finished with 20 points and seven rebounds while Ella Benfield added seven for the ‘Landers.
“There were some things not on the scoreboard that helped us win,” Lady Rangers head coach Kenneth Chambers said. “Cloudland played good defense against us and I say this a lot, but any team in this league can beat anyone. This is the first time we have swept them since I came back to Unaka. Coach Birchfield always does a great job with his kids, they always play hard.”
Unaka 53-47
Unaka (53)
Simerly 1, Ramsey 32, Forney 8, Ensor 9, Guy 3.
Cloudland (47)
Birchfield 6, E. Benfield 7, McKinney 4, Turbyfill 8, Christman 20, Fields 2.
Unaka 12 15 7 19 – 53
Cloudland 12 11 15 9 – 47
3-point goals: U 9 (Ramsey 4, Ensor 3, Forney 2), C 4 (Birchfield 2, Turbyfill 2).
Unaka 56-54
Unaka (56)
Slagle 11, Sexton 3, Seigfried 3, D. Ramsey 12, Blamo 15, L. Ramsey 6, Shomaker 6.
Cloudland (54)
Sluder 17, Shell 5, Clarke 8, McKinney 6, McClellan 16, Morgan 1, Benfield 1.
Unaka 9 13 18 16 – 56
Cloudland 12 14 13 15 – 54
3-point goals : U 3 (Slagle 3), C 3 (Sluder 3).

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