By Tim Chambers
MOUNTAIN CITY—Johnson County had almost shut the door, but its inability to close it tight was just what Unaka needed to push through at the end.
Danny Bales sank a runner with 19 seconds remaining, allowing the Rangers to escape with a hard-fought 61-60 win inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium.
Unaka overcame an 11-point deficit to lasso the Lady Steers 51-45 in the girls’ game.
Johnson County 60
The Rangers were finally able to breath a sigh of relief after Brian Dempsey’s 15-footer bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
“We didn’t panic when we got down,” said Unaka coach Aaron Dugger. “We didn’t shoot the ball well early, but we kept chipping away. When it got tight Danny stepped up and made a big time play, and he’s capable of doing that. We knew they would double Logan, but we’ve got players this year who can make plays. Danny did a great job of getting to the ball to the rim and finishing.”
Johnson County 45
At anytime during a game a key shot, play or call can be the turning point — and thus was the case in this contest.
Johnson County held a 39-32 advantage to start the fourth quarter and appeared on its way to victory, but a technical foul was whistled on their assistant coach with the team leading 39-34.
Alicia Colbaugh sank two free throws, then Kassie Winters followed that up with a pair of threes that put Unaka in front 42-39 with 5:11 remaining.