It was a Carter County classic at Unaka Friday night.
The Hampton boys basketball team held on for a thrilling overtime 65-63 victory over the Rangers in District 1-A action.
In the girls’ game, the Lady Rangers pulled away in the second quarter and kept the Lady Bulldogs at bay to take a 58-39 win.
The boys game was a battle from the opening tip.
Unaka jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead with shots from Devin Ramsey and Joe-z Blamo. Hampton, however, saw Michael Harrison and Parker Henry get the HHS offense going.
The Bulldogs went on a 14-2 run over the middle stretch of the quarter, but the Rangers ended the quarter with back-to-back shots to pull within two points after eight minutes of play.
In the second quarter, Hampton scored the first nine points and had a 13-3 run to open the quarter. That allowed HHS to take a 32-19 lead into the half.
Unaka repaid the favor to open the third quarter with a quick 8-2 run to close with striking distance. After Morgan Lyons pushed the lead back to 10 points for Hampton, Will Sexton scored eight of the next 10 points to pull the Rangers back with four points.
The teams traded runs to end the quarter as Hampton maintained a 45-42 lead after three complete quarters.
The back-and-forth continued in the closing quarter as both teams traded shots including in the frantic final minute that saw Will Sexton knock down a 3-pointer to force overtime.
Unaka jumped out in the extra period, but Hampton answered quickly to regain the lead. The teams swapped the lead before the Bulldogs were able to eke out a win after each team had a turnover with just over two seconds left on the clock.
Conor Burleson had 17 points to pace the Hampton attack, and Lyons added 15 points. Henry tallied 11 points for the Hampton cause.
Sexton finished with 28 points for Unaka. Joseph Slagle and Blamo had 11 points apiece.
In the girls’ game, Unaka methodically pulled away in the second half.
In the first quarter, Hampton’s Bree Davis and Unaka’s Lyndie Ramsey had big first quarters for their respective squads as the game was tied at 10-10 after a quarter of play.
Unaka’s Mailey Guy and Macy Ensor kicked off a 9-0 run to open the second quarter before Hampton’s Madi McClain and Taylor Berry broke the run for the Lady Bulldogs in the final minute of the half.
The Lady Rangers held a 19-14 advantage at the half.
Unaka slowly started to get some separation in the third quarter as they opened the quarter with a 12-3 run.
The Lady Rangers pushed the lead to 19 points with some big shots from Ramsey and Guy, but McClain and Berry cut into the lead for Hampton.
In the fourth quarter, the Lady Bulldogs made a quick run, but Unaka answered with a run of their own to stop any thoughts of a comeback.
Ramsey led Unaka with 24 points. Ensor finished with 10 points, while Guy added nine points.
Hampton was paced by Davis’ 13 points. McClain tallied eight points, while Linsey Jenkins had six points.
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