It was a pivotal game for both Cloudland and Unaka. At the end, the Lady ‘Landers held the upper hand.
Cloudland picked up a hard-fought 49-45 victory over Unaka on Friday night on Stoney Creek. The ‘Landers pulled away to take a 77-50 win over the home-standing Rangers.
In the varsity opener, it was a back-and-forth affair from the opening tip.
Cloudland’s Donrae Taylor and Shian Strickland hit early 3-pointers to give CHS a 6-2 lead. After the Lady Rangers tied it up on a pair of free throws from Myah Parlier, Lisa Ellis kicked off a 7-0 Cloudland run. Katlyn Burrow and Sarah Tipton added points for Unaka as UHS cut the lead to 13-11 at the end of the first quarter.
A Tipton jumped gave Unaka their first of the game early in the second quarter. However, the Lady ‘Landers scored 7 of the next 10 points to regain the advantage. The teams went into the locker room knotted at 22 apiece.
Trinity Vines opened the second half by breaking the stalemate in favor of the Lady ‘Landers, but Savannah Tipton and Katlyn Weaver hit back-to-back baskets to regain the lead. After the teams tied up at 28-28, Cloudland took a small lead and clung to a 35-32 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
In the final period, Unaka scored the first five points to retake the lead two minutes into the quarter. The teams traded points before Strickland hit a trey to give CHS a 42-39 lead. Unaka kept cutting the gap to one point off shots from Weaver and Erika Potter. Cloudland made some crucial shots down the stretch to preserve the win.
Strickland had 25 points to lead all scorers. Vines added 13 points for Cloudland.
Madison Ensor had 11 points for Unaka, while Weaver scored 10 points.
The boys’ game saw the teams trade points early as Unaka held an 8-7 lead off an Issac Hill jumper. Josh Blair and the ‘Landers answered with a 12-4 run to take the lead. A Preston Benfield 3-pointer gave CHS a 25-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Benfield picked up where he left off as Cloudland crept out to a 21-point advantage three minutes into the quarter. Unaka, however, answered with points from Gary Wright and Kyler Lewis. After the teams traded points, the ‘Landers took a 43-29 lead into the locker room at the half.
The third quarter was one of runs. Cloudland answered the quarter on a 20-4 run to extend the lead to 30 points, but Unaka responded with a 9-0 run.
The Rangers, however, were unable to pull any closer in the final period.
Benfield had 32 points to lead all scorers, while Robert Leeper had 17 points. Jason Potter had 10 points.
The Rangers were paced by Wright’s 13 points. Lewis added 10 points to the Ranger cause.