District 1 1-A Boy’s Basketball Tournament… Rangers overcome strong comeback rally from Cloudland
Published 10:22 am Friday, February 18, 2022
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BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
HAPPY VALLEY – If the rest of the District 1 1-A basketball tournament is like Thursday night’s showdown between Unaka and Cloudland, fans had better bring an extra oxygen tank or two because the first game of the tournament took everyone’s breath due to the excitement.
Unaka jumped out to a seven-point halftime lead, 28-21, came out of the locker room and built it to double digits before a Cloudland rally put the Highlanders ahead by one at the end of the third and then saw Unaka pull away once again late to take a 51-41 win to advance to a 6 p.m. Saturday showdown with the top-ranked South Greene Rebels in one semifinal contest.
Hampton and U-H square off at 7:30 p.m. to fill the championship and third place slots for Monday night.
Landon Ramsey put the Rangers on his back in the first half as the big man hit 12 points in the opening half to build the early lead. Joe-Z Blamo added six points while Joseph Slagle recorded five points. Ryan Sexton added four with Gavin Seigfried adding 1-of-2 from the free throw line.
Caden Clarke helped to keep the Highlanders in contention by scoring eight first half points. Eli Morgan hit two deep treys for six points. Caleb Sluder netted four and Jacob Street totaled three points.
Fans got their money’s worth and then some in the second half as Ramsey and Slagle came out of the locker room to hit two deep three’s staking the Rangers to a 34-21 lead before the Highlanders began their big comeback.
Cloudland outscored Unaka 16-7 in the third quarter to not only catch up with the Rangers but pass them as they took a 37-35 lead as the third period horn sounded.
Sophomore Eli Morganhad a hand in that comeback as he hit a three at the buzzer to give his team the lead.
With everything on the line, the fourth quarter scoring book looked like a SAT test sheet with 28 foul shots being taken during the quarter. The teams combined to hit 13 of those 23 shots.
Unaka outscored the ‘Landers 16-4 in the final eight minutes to gain the needed edge to take the win.
Ramsey led the Rangers with a game-high 19 points. Joseph Slagle and Joe-Z Blamo chipped in with 11 points apiece in the win.
Morgan led the Highlander attack with a team-high 11 points. Dylan Shell knocked down six points.
Cloudland’s season has come to an end and Unaka lives on to play on another day as they have a Saturday date with the top-seeded North Greene Huskies at 6 p.m.
The win also guaranteed Unaka a spot in next week’s region tournament.
District 1 1-A Boy’s Basketball Tournament
Jacob Street 6, Caleb Sluder 7, Caden Clarke 8, Eli Morgan 11, Dylan McClellan 2, Dylan Shell 6, Gage McKinney 1.
Gavin Seigfried 1, Landon Ramsey 19, Ryan Sexton 8, Joseph Slagle 11, Joe-Z Blamo 11, Brynin Repass 1.
Cloudland …. 10 11 16 4 – 41
Unaka ………. 12 16 7 16 – 51