Unaka were led by 28-point performances from Joe Searfoss and Kyler Lewis to secure a 82-79 overtime win against Happy Valley Thursday night inside Charlie Bayless Gymnasium during non-conference play.
Post Travis Overdorf added 16 in the winning effort for the Rangers. The win is Unaka’s fifth of the year while the Warriors, led by an offensive showcase from Corey Matherly (24 points) fall to 7-16.
“It means a lot,” Searfoss said following the victory. “We’ve had some things happen to us that most kids would completely quit but we stayed together and we stepped up real big tonight.”
The Rangers trailed by double digits at the two-minute mark before erupting for 15 points while limiting the Warriors to just six during the stretch.
Josh Hammonds gave the Warriors a 75-73 lead but a late bucket by Searfoss moved the game into extra play, knotted up at 75-all.
Unaka opened the period on a quick 5-0 run in the first five minutes by Lewis knocked in a free throw to give their team a 80-77 lead. Warrior Nathan Kyte scored on a layup to help cut the lead within a point, 80-79, but Happy Valley would go cold with 3.5 seconds from the charity stripe to give the Stoney Creek faithful the victory.
“We’ve been through a lot as a team,” Lewis said. “It was a crucial win for us. This will be the win that can get us going heading into tournament time.”
It was all about the intensity of the team, Unaka head coach Aaron Dugger said, and a never-say-die attitude.
“The last five games, they’ve played hard,” Dugger said. “They didn’t quit and its a testament to our upperclassmen. We were down by ten points with two minutes to go, they kept fighting and fighting – I’m just so proud of them.”
The Warriors jumped out to an early 16-10 lead against Unaka before the visiting team was able to secure a 27-25 lead at intermission. The Rangers entered the fourth quarter with a four point deficit, 50-46.
Sam Blevins Kyte were the second-leading scorers in the contest for Happy Valley with 10 points each. Kyte, Hammonds, Dillon Barlow, Austin Hicks, Brayden Sams, Zack Hyder and Ethan Barnett also contributed key minutes across the court.
Bobby Davenport and Gary Wright rounded out the scoring for Unaka with six and four, respectively.
Friday, Jan. 23 – Happy Valley at Sullivan South
Friday, Jan. 23 – Hancock County at Unaka