The Unaka boys’ basketball team had an upset in mind. However, University High had one more run in the tank.
The Rangers were unable to answer a fourth-quarter run as they saw their season come to a close in a 78-63 loss to the Bucs in the quarterfinals of the District 1-A tournament at Daniel Boone.
In the opening minutes, it was a back-and-forth battle.
After UH jumped out to a 5-2 lead, the Rangers evened things up at 7-7 after a pair of free throws from Ryan Johnson and a trey from Will Sexton. The Bucs pushed the lead out to six points before a Devin Ramsey bucket in the closing seconds of the quarter pulled UHS back within four points.
The Bucs came out fo the gate quickly in the second stanza as they reeled off 19-5 run to pull out to an 18-point lead. Unaka, however, wasn’t going to go quietly as an old-fashioned 3-point play from Sexton stopped the UH run and helped the Rangers to on an 8-2 run to trim the lead.
University scored the last five points of the half to take a 43-26 lead at the break.
The Rangers battled back in the third quarter.
With a methodical approach, Unaka used a 13-2 run to pull within seven points, and then Joseph Slagle drained a pair of 3-pointers to pull the Rangers within six points at the end of the third quarter.
The Bucs, however, stopped the Unaka momentum with a quick 9-0 run to open the final quarter. UHS continued to battle but was unable to make a late run at the Bucs.
Slagle led the way with 23 points – 17 of which came in the third quarter. Sexton had 17 points for the Ranger effort.
Marshall Fleenor led UH with 21 points, while Kaleb Meredith had 20 points.
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