It was a historic day for the Lady Rangers.
Unaka claimed their first-ever win in the Class A TSSAA State Tournament with a 61-54 victory over Wartburg in the quarterfinal round.
“This win means the world to us,” Unaka Head Coach Kenneth Chambers said. “We’ve had some opportunities to get to the next level and have had some great teams. It’s an honor just to be down here, but we feel like we have a team, if we keep working hard, we can find ways to make things happen. The kids don’t give up and there’s no quit in them.”
With the win, UHS advanced to the semifinals where they will take on Summertown at 3:45 ET/2:45 CT on Friday.
Myah Parlier had 16 points as she went 8-of-9 from the floor. Sarah Tipton and Savannah Tipton had 12 and 11 points, respectively, while Erika Potter had 10 points for the Lady Rangers.
Sar. Tipton opened the scoring with a 3-pointer and Parlier added a jumper to give Unaka a 5-4 lead three minutes into the game. The teams traded points before Potter added a basket in the paint to give the Lady Rangers a 12-10 advantage going to the second.
Sav. Tipton and Sydney Markland pushed the Unaka lead to eight points with back-to-back 3-pointers. After the Lady Bulldogs cut the lead to five points, Lexi Garland and Parlier added pointed to put Unaka up 22-13 midway through the stanza. The Lady Rangers maintained the lead for the rest of the quarter to take a 29-23 lead into the locker room at the half.
Wartburg didn’t go quietly.
An early 12-2 Lady Bulldog run pushed Wartburg into the lead just past the midpoint of the quarter. Back-to-back buckets by Parlier snapped the run, but the Lady Bulldogs held a 42-41 – including five points in the final 32 seconds of the stanza – lead after three complete quarters.
The teams traded points early in the final quarter as Unaka was unable to edge ahead for the first four minutes of the frame. A quick Lady Ranger run, however, grabbed the momentum and Potter pushed Unaka back in front. Sav. Tipton added four free
throws to the UHS lead.
In the closing minutes, the Lady Rangers took care of business at the free throw line to secure the win and set off the celebration with the Unaka faithful.
From the free throw line, Unaka went 18-of-19 for the game.
Makayla Poland had 19 points to lead Wartburg.
Garland and Markland finished with seven and five points, respectively, for Unaka.