For the second game in a row, Unaka waited until the fourth quarter to make their move.
The Lady Rangers erased a late eight-point deficit to take a 40-36 victory over Cloudland in the Region 1-A Championship game at Daniel Boone High School. It is the first Region title for the Lady Rangers since the 2003-2004 season.
With the win, Unaka will also host Saturday’s substate as they welcome Tellico Plains to Stoney Creek. Cloudland will travel to Wartburg in the Round of 16.
In the early going, the Lady ‘Landers held control.
Stacia Wilson had the game’s first three points before Lexi Garland put Unaka on the board with a jumper. Trinity Vines kicked off a 9-2 Cloudland run to give CHS a 12-4 advantage. After a Garland basket, CHS held a 12-6 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
The teams traded points in the second quarter as CHS edged ahead to a 10-point advantage off a Kenzie Birchfield trey. Myah Parlier and Garland hit back-to-back shots to cut the gap, but a Megan Lunsford and Wilson pushed the Cloudland advantage to 24-15 at the half.
In the third quarter, points were hard to come by in the early going. Erika Potter opened the scoring for the Lady Rangers a minute into the frame, and then added the next points of the game four minutes later. After Unaka closed the gap to five points, Cloudland pushed the lead to seven points with eight minutes to play.
Wilson opened the final quarter with a free throw in the first minute. From there, Unaka took control. Potter and Garland put Unaka on the board to trim the lead and the Lady Rangers closed to within two points with a Parlier basket with four minutes to play.
Sarah Tipton gave UHS their first lead of the game with a deep 3-pointer with 3:23 to play in the game. In the closing minutes, Unaka took care of business on the line to secure the win.
Garland led the Lady Rangers with 15 points. Potter had nine points, while Parlier added eight points. Tipton had six points.
Cloudland was paced by Wilson’s 12 points, while Lunsford had seven points. Vines finished with five points.
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