Rangers thump winless Highlanders

Published 9:33 am Monday, January 8, 2024

STAR CORRESPONDENT

Defense wins championships,” they say, and it was on full display at Snavely Gymnasium on Friday night. The Unaka Rangers (6-12 overall, 1-0 conference) held Cloudland to single-digit scoring in all four quarters of their 62-27 conference victory.

Senior post Marcus Shomaker took control of the first quarter, tallying 10 of his 14 points in the opening stanza as the Rangers claimed a 14-4 lead. Shomaker’s double-double also included 12 rebounds and two blocked shots. Unaka extended its lead to 29-13 at halftime, and junior guard Mason Wilson heated up in the second half, sinking three treys and scoring a game-high 15 points.

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“We had to look ourselves in the mirror,” Rangers head coach Aaron Dugger said. “We scored 70 points in back-to-back games and lost, so we needed to play defense to our standard. I think we took it to heart as we made a conscious effort to play good defense.”

The Highlanders (0-13, 0-1) were led by Nick Caraway’s 12 points, while Cooper Smith added eight to Cloudland’s scoring. For Unaka, freshman John Hardin impressed with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and a pair of blocked shots.

BOYS

Unaka 62-27

Cloudland (27)

Birchfield 2, Smith 8, Caraway 12, McClellan 3, L. Barnett 2.

Unaka (62)

McKinney 4, Wilson 15, Crabtree 4, Lewis 3, Shomaker 14, Walsh 2, J. Deyton 4, Hardin 12,

T. Taylor 2, Wright 2.

Cloudland 4 9 6 8 – 27

Unaka 14 15 20 13 – 62

3-point goals: C 0, U 5 (Wilson 4, Lewis 1)