The Unaka boys basketball team wasn’t going to be denied on Monday night.
The Rangers held off Hampton for a 55-52 victory in the District 1-A Consolation game at Sullivan North. It was the first win for Unaka over Hampton since the 2013 District 1-A tournament.
Both teams will open the Region 1-A tournament on the road Saturday. Unaka will travel Jellico game while Hampton will make the trip to Cosby.
The first quarter saw Unaka’s Ryan Johnson and Hampton’s Rocky Croy put on a show. Johnson drained a trio of 3-pointers, while Croy had eight points in the quarter. The Rangers held a 17-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, points were at a premium. The Rangers’ Will Sexton scored seven points in the frame while Dylan Whitehead added a big jumper, and Unaka held Hampton to just four points – buckets from Izaak Hill and Croy – to take a 26-20 lead into the locker room at the break.
Hampton slowly started to battle back in the second half.
A balanced attack from the Bulldogs answered a 10-point quarter from John Ramsey as the Bulldogs trimmed two points off the Unaka lead going to the fourth quarter. The methodical comeback continued to the fourth quarter as HHS closed the gap to 53-52 with just over a minute to play.
In the frantic last minute, Unaka had just enough to hold on to take the victory.
Sexton led Unaka with 16 points, while Johnson added 12 points. Ramsey and Isaac Hill had 10 and 8 points, respectively.
Hampton was paced by Croy’s 14 points. Hill finished with 11 points, while Jordan Bentley and Garret Vines had nine and seven points, respectively.
Unaka was represented on the All-Tournament team by Hill and Sexton, while Bentley and Croy represented the Bulldogs.