Dominance on the Court: Unaka Rangers triumph over Happy Valley Warriors 83-54

Published 10:33 am Friday, December 15, 2023

BY C.Y. Peters

Thursday night brought a basketball showdown between the Unaka Rangers and the Happy Valley Warriors, a clash eagerly awaited by fans. The anticipation buzzed through the crowd, augmented by the presence of the vigilant Stoney Creek Fire Department, standing by as the Rangers prepared to ignite the court.

From the opening tip-off, the Rangers exhibited a display of unparalleled talent, swiftly resembling a well-oiled machine operating at peak efficiency. Their performance was a symphony of precision and skill, as they surged ahead, swiftly amassing a commanding lead over the Warriors. The scoreboard painted a vivid picture of their dominance, with the Rangers leading by over 20 points within the first quarter.

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The Rangers orchestrated an offensive spectacle that left the Warriors scrambling to keep pace. A remarkable feat unfolded as five players from the Rangers scored in double figures, spearheaded by the dynamic Connor McKinney, who showcased his scoring skills with an impressive 16 points.

The first half concluded with the Rangers firmly in the driver’s seat, having established a commanding 27-point lead at 53-26. Logan Lewis and Marcus Shoemaker were instrumental in setting the tempo early on, combining forces to net eight and six points, respectively. However, it was their collective effort and seamless teamwork that truly propelled the Rangers toward an insurmountable advantage.

As the game progressed into the second half, the Rangers continued their unyielding onslaught, extending their lead further. Leveraging their precision and strategic play, they capitalized on opportunities from the charity stripe, adding a substantial 12 points to their tally. The importance of free throws in sealing victories became evident, as the Rangers masterfully converted 24 free throws compared to the Warriors’ 14, underscoring their precision and focus in crucial moments.

While the Warriors fought valiantly, it was Darian Jackson who led their charge with a commendable 15 points. Despite their efforts, the Rangers’ relentless offensive and defensive strategies proved insurmountable.

The Rangers’ triumph was a collective effort, with multiple players delivering standout performances. Following McKinney’s stellar lead, Mason Wilson emerged as a formidable force, closely trailing with 15 points. Contributions poured in from Logan Lewis and Austin Lambert, who each added 13 points, while Shoemaker rounded off the impressive offensive showcase with 11 points.

The Unaka Rangers finished with a remarkable 83-54 triumph over the Happy Valley Warriors. At halftime, Richard “Jarfly” Dugger was presented a plaque by softball players with whom he had worked over the years.  Girls from most of the Carter County schools, some from Daniel Boone and a couple from North Carolina also came to support their former mentor.


Unaka 27   26   23   5   -83

Happy Valley  7  19  16  13  -54



Unaka:  McKinney 16, Wilson 15, Crabtree 2, Lewis 13, Deyton 6,

Shoemaker 11, Lambert 13, Hardin 7


Happy Valley: Jackson 15, Furr 6, Good 6, Grindstaff 5, Blair 2, Nichles

8, Rose 2, Parker 8, Sowards 2


Free Throws:

Unaka – 24 of 31 

Happy Valley – 14 of 24