‘Landers edge Unaka in thriller; Lady ‘Landers pull away from Lady Rangers



It was a thriller between two county rivals on Friday night.

Cloudland escaped Stoney Creek with a 60-57 victory over Unaka in District 1-A action with a thrilling finish, while the Lady ‘Landers used a strong defensive effort in the second half to take a 56-25 win over the Lady Rangers.

In the boys’ game, it was a thrilling game from the onset.

Cloudland jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the opening minutes with shots from Dillon Johnson and Hunter Shell. Unaka, however, closed the gap back to two points with timely baskets from John Ramsey and Isaac Hill.

The second quarter was much the same as Cloudland pushed the lead back out, but a Ramsey 3-pointer closed the gap. Unaka ended the quarter on a run to take a lead in the final minute. The ‘Landers answered at the buzzer as Josh Blair hit a lay-up to tie the game at 31-31 going to the half.

The Rangers came out of the locker room in the third quarter on a roll as UHS took a three-possession lead before the ‘Landers stormed back to regain the lead. As the quarter ended, the teams traded shots and Unaka took a slim 46-45 lead into the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the ‘Landers jumped back in front to open the fourth as Conner Birchfield converted a lay-up. Neither team could get much separation in the fourth quarter as CHS held a 54-50 lead with just over two minutes to play.

Unaka, however, didn’t go down without a fight as a quick 5-0 run by Ramsey pulled Unaka within one point. The Rangers were unable to get back in front in the closing seconds and a last second shot to tie the game just missed the mark.

Shell led Cloudland with 20 points, while Birchfield had 11 points. Blair tallied 10 points in the win.

Ramsey led Unaka with a game-high 21 points, while Hill added 16 points. Ryan Johnson tossed in 13 points.

In the girls’ game, Cloudland took control early.

The Lady ‘Landers jumped out to a 6-1 lead with 3-pointers from Trinity Vines and Megan Lunsford, and extended the advantage to 12-3 midway through the quarter. Savannah Tipton hit a shot in the final minute of the first quarter to cut the Lady ‘Lander lead to 17-6 at the end of the first quarter.

Madison Pierce opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer to get Unaka off to a quick start, but Gracie Freeman pushed the lead back to double-digits. The teams traded runs over the quarter, and Cloudland held a 33-18 advantage at the half.

The CHS defense stole the show in the second half.

Cloudland limited Unaka to just seven points in the second half – only two of which came in the final eight minutes. The Lady ‘Landers saw Stacia Wilson record six points in the third quarter to help take advantage of the defensive effort as CHS took a 41-23 lead into the final stanza.

From there, it was all Cloudland.

Wilson finished the game with 16 points to lead all scorers, and Jasmine Birchfield and Heaven Caraway had nine points each. Freeman scored eight points in the win.

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