The Lady Rangers didn’t go down without a fight.
Unaka saw their season come to a close with a 57-44 loss to Summertown on Friday in the Class A State Semifinals despite battling back from a double-digit deficit.
“I’m proud of these girls,” Unaka coach Kenneth Chambers said. “We have great seniors and it was a team effort all the way through this. They played hard and they never quit. They could have lost in the district, in the region, but they had a never-quit attitude and because of that, we were able to pull out a lot of ball games.”
Unaka finished the season with a 28-10 mark.
It was a battle from the opening tip.
Sarah Tipton drained a 3-pointer to open the scoring, but the Lady Eagles scored the next five points. Myah Parlier snapped the Summertown run. Savannah Tipton added a pair of free throws to give UHS a 7-6 lead midway through the quarter.
After the Lady Eagles jumped back out in front, Erika Potter hit a trey to tie the game. A pair of late free throws gave Summertown an 11-9 lead going to the second quarter.
In the second stanza, Parlier knocked down a shot ti open the second, but Summertown used an 8-0 run to take an advantage. The Lady Rangers, however, battled back to cut the lead to four points a couple of times. Unaka saw Summertown hit a 3-pointer in the waning seconds of the quarter to take a 30-22 advantage into the half.
The Lady Eagles opened the second half by pushing the lead to 14 points over the first five minutes. Lexi Garland and Parlier knocked down buckets for the Lady Rangers as Unaka ended the quarter on a 7-0 run to close the deficit to 38-31 lead going to the fourth quarter.
After Summertown extended the lead to 13 points over the opening minutes of the final quarter, Garland and Sav. Tipton hit shots to trim the lead to single digits. Unaka, however, was unable to get any closer before time expired.
Parlier finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, while Garland had eight points. Sav. Tipton scored seven points, while Sar. Tipton had six points. Potter and Sydney Markland had four points and three points, respectively.
“One game, Sarah might be the leading scorer and the next game it might be Lexi and the next game, it might be Myah,” Chambers said. “In every game, one or two might step up. That made us a hard team to guard because you couldn’t just key on one player. It was kind of like Summertown where they had great shooters, but you had to guard everyone. These girls, they learned to play as a team and as a family.”