It was an epic clash to see who could extend the season.
Unaka used a fourth-quarter run to take a 51-41 victory over Cloudland in the District 1-A boys quarterfinals at Happy Valley on Thursday.
With the win, Unaka survived and advanced to the District 1-A semifinals where they will take on No. 1 North Greene on Saturday along with a Region 1-A tournament berth.
The loss ends Cloudland’s season one game shy of the Region 1-A tournament.
Thursday night was a back-and-forth battle from the onset.
Points were hard to come by in the early going as the teams were tied at 4-4 four minutes into the game. Cayden Clarke pushed Cloudland ahead with a jumper and free throw, but Unaka countered with points from Landon Ramsey and Ryan Sexton to take a 12-10 lead after a quarter of play.
Eli Morgan hit a 3-pointer to open the second quarter as CHS regained the lead. The Rangers, however, saw Slagle answer with a 3-pointer along with a Joe-Z Blamo jumper to regain the lead.
After Caleb Sluder closed Cloudland back within three points, Unaka slowly extended the lead to 28-21 at the break.
Slagle and Ramsey opened the third quarter with a pair of 3-pointers for Unaka as the Rangers took a 34-21 advantage in the early minute.
Cloudland, however, didn’t go quietly.
Dylan Shell hit a 3-pointer while Sluder also added a trey, and the ‘Landers took control of the quarter. Cloudland scored eight straight before an Unaka free throw, and the ‘Landers scored the last eight points of the quarter – including a Morgan 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left in the game to take a 37-35 lead to the fourth quarter.
In the final quarter, points were hard to come by as the teams swapped free throws.
Ramsey hit the first jumper of the quarter with 3:16 remaining in the game to push Unaka to a 43-39 lead.
The Ramsey bucket was part of an 8-2 run over the final four minutes to secure the win for Unaka despite a hard-fought battle from Cloudland.
Ramsey had 19 points to pace Unaka. Slagle added 13 points, while Blamo tossed in 11 points.
Morgan led Cloudland with 11 points. Clarke added eight points for the ‘Lander cause, while Sluder and Shell had seven points each.
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