Cloudland Outduels Unaka In District 1-A Semifinals



Cloudland solved the Unaka puzzle on Friday night.

After falling in the two regular-season meetings, the Lady ‘Landers captured a 56-44 victory over the Lady Rangers in the District 1-A Girls Semifinals at Happy Valley to advance to the District 1-A Championship game.

Cloudland will take on North Greene in the title game, while Unaka will take on Hampton in the consolation game.

Both games will be played on Monday evening at Happy Valley.

The first quarter saw the teams trade shots.

Saharra McKinney opened the game with a trey but Lyndie Ramsey countered on the opposite end with a 3-pointer of her own.

Ella Benfield bookmarked a Ramsey bucket before the Miss Basketball finalist hit a 3-pointer to give Unaka an 8-7 lead with 4:23 left in the first.

Benfield kicked started an 8-2 Cloudland run that was capped by four straight points from Isabella Christman to give Cloudland a 15-10 advantage after a quarter of play.

After Unaka trimmed the lead to two points in the opening minute of the second, Karah Fields and Benfield knocked down shots to stop the Unaka run.

That kicked off a 14-3 Cloudland run that included shots from Benfield, Fields, and McKinney to push the lead to 29-17 at the half.

The Lady ‘Landers pushed the lead out to kick start the third quarter, but Ramsey and Kiki Forney hit back-to-back buckets to close the Cloudland lead to 11 points with just over a minute left in the third.

Cloudland, however, answered again as Fields hit a 3-pointer before another Benfield bucket. The quarter ended when Fields drained her second 3-pointer in just over a minute as the Lady ‘Landers held a 44-25 lead after the third.

Unaka, however, didn’t go quietly.

The Lady Rangers used points from Ramsey for a 6-1 run to close the lead. After Ryan Turbyfill scored five straight points to stop the run, Ramsey and Julie Simerly closed the lead again as the dup combined for six straight.

That was as close as Unaka could get despite 14 points in the frame from Ramsey as Cloudland secured the win in the closing minutes at the free-throw line.

Fields finished with 20 points to lead the way for Cloudland, while Benfield had 17 points. Christman and Turbyfill had five points apiece.

Ramsey led Unaka with 28 points, while Whitehead had seven points.

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