On Friday’s senior night at Unaka High School, the Rangers’ boys basketball team finished its 2011-12 home slate with a convincing 80-48 victory over Tri-Cities Christian.
Seniors Austin Clawson and Travis Sommers were among the nine cheerleading and sports seniors honored at halftime at Snavely Gym.
“It’s been a fun ride,” Clawson, a four-year member of the basketball squad, said. “I want to thank Coach (Aaron) Dugger and Coach (Derek) Cline. We started the season with new coaches coming in, and everyone likes them and plays hard for them. We want to finish the season strong and try our best to get to the state tournament.”
Clawson finished the night with 13 points and eight rebounds, while fellow senior Sommers tallied 13 and took down six boards.
“Tonight we just wanted to come out and get a win for Austin and me and the whole team,” said Sommers. “I have made a lot of friends on this team, the kind of friendships that last a lifetime. I may say goodbye to sports but life goes on, and the friends I made here will always be with me. Our goal the rest of the way is to get as far in the tournament as we can.”
The Rangers (14-15) came out of the gates on fire, scoring 27 in the first period to open a 27-12 advantage. Unaka extended its lead by halftime to 49-25 with both Logan Carrier and Clawson scoring 10 first half points.
Carrier finished with a game-high 22 points, connecting on 5-of-8 from beyond the arc.
“Logan is taking better quality shots and that is why he’s shooting a higher percentage,” said Rangers head coach Aaron Dugger. “He’s figuring out what we want him to do. What’s a good shot, what’s a bad shot and he’s really improving on that.
“I feel like as a team we are playing well right now. We’ve strung about four or five good games together and that’s a plus. We’re taking some steps forward, but we’ll have our hands full with North Greene in the play-in game.”
The Eagles didn’t let down in the second half, playing hard, but not closing the deficit even with a stellar night from guard Drew Blythe, who tallied 21 points.
Tri-Cities post Brandon Jeter had a big night on the boards with 11 rebounds to go with his 13 points, but this night belonged to Unaka from start to finish.
Alex Baltaji and Spencer Nave and were among the five players the Rangers had in double figures, scoring with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
On Monday, the Rangers will complete the regular season with another non-region contest at Johnson County. Unaka also has a chance to finish with a .500 record and go into its Friday tilt with North Greene carrying some much-needed momentum into the Distrct 1-A tournament at Daniel Boone.