It was a split decision in a Carter County clash on Friday night.
The Hampton boys’ basketball team held off an upset-minded Unaka squad with a 61-47 victory while the Lady Rangers captured a 61-34 win over the Lady Bulldogs.
In the boys’ game, it was a tight battle from the opening tip.
Hampton struck first as Garrett Vines kicked off a 7-3 run to open the game, but Ryan Johnson and the Rangers stormed back with a 9-2 run of their own to take a slim lead. Morgan Lyons hit a pair of free throws in the closing seconds of the first quarter to tie the game at 12-12 after eight minutes of play.
The Bulldogs regained the lead with a quick 6-0 burst to open the second quarter and pushed the advantage to 28-17 with just over two minutes to play in part to a 16-5 run. Unaka responded in a big way as Will Sexton hit five straight points to spark a 10-2 run to end the half that cut the Hampton lead to 30-27 at the break.
Hampton got a little breathing room to open the third quarter with a 9-2 run. That was part of a 15-8 quarter to give HHS a 10-point lead going to the final quarter.
Unaka kept battling with key shots but was unable to make a late rally.
Conner Jones led the way for Hampton with 16 points. Morgan Lyons added 14 points, while Rocky Croy scored 12 points in the win.
Will Sexton led Unaka with 24 points, while Devin Ramsey added nine points.
In the girls’ game, the Lady Rangers used a strong 3-point attack to take control.
After Unaka raced out to a 7-1 lead in the opening minutes, Hazen Brumitt and the Lady Bulldogs stormed back to close within a possession. However, Unaka pushed the lead back out to six points at the end of the quarter.
Lyndie Ramsey and the Lady Rangers started to heat up from behind the arc in the second quarter as they were able to push the lead to double-digits at the half. From there, Unaka kept firing on all cylinders to keep the Lady Bulldogs at bay and preserve the win.
Ramsey had 13 points to lead Unaka. Jada Whitehead scored nine points in the win, while Tara Whitehead and Macy Ensor had seven points each.
Brummitt led Hampton with 10 points, while Hannah Collins scored seven points.
For more photos, click here.