By Tim Chambers

Johnson County found the going tough against a well-coached Unaka squad who should make the state rankings when the polls come out. The Lady Longhorns played hard from start to finish before falling 59-43 on Tuesday night inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium.
JCHS’ head coach Leon Tolley praised the Unaka squad for playing the way they did. He found a few positives in his own team’s overall play.
“That’s the best team we’ve played so far and one of the best that we’ll play all year,” said Tolley. “That team has a chance to go down the road. I told Coach Kenneth Chambers that they might be the most rounded group he’s had in years. If you’re not coaching against them, they are fun to watch. We got tired in the second half because I didn’t sub as much, but we can take some positives from this game. I liked our effort at times, but we have a whole lot of work to do to get where we want to be.”
Rapid Ranger start
The Longhorns defense had trouble shutting down the red hot shooting of Sarah Tipton in the first half. The senior guard tallied 15 first half points including shooting 4-for-4 from behind the three-point line.
The Rangers hit four treys in the first quarter and built up a 16-7 advantage. Taylor Parsons knocked down a three-ball for Johnson County in the final seconds that left them trailing 16-10 after one.
The Lady Horns fought valiantly in the second quarter to stay in the game. Tipton matched Johnson County’s nine-point total by hitting a pair of treys and three free throws. Despite her efforts, the Longhorns held the rest of the Rangers in check and stayed within eight at 27-19 after two quarters.
Unaka held the Longhorns to only seven third quarter points and stretched their lead to 19 after three. Myah Parlier worked the inside for 10 points. Sydney Markland and Savannah Tipton added treys for the Rangers who shot 7-for-14 in the quarter.
Parsons tried to get the Longhorns going in the fourth quarter with six points and five rebounds with the help of five points by Sadie Stout including a three-ball.
The Rangers kept them from doing so thanks to three treys by Lexi Garland in the final period.
Statistical leaders
Parsons led the Longhorns with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Taylor Cox had a great game off the bench with 10 points, five rebounds and three steals. Stout managed eight points and six rebounds. Emmy Miller had five points and six rebounds. Courtney Brooks, five points and two by Adrian Hall closed out Johnson County’s scoring.
The Rangers placed three players in double figures. Tipton scored all of her 15 points in the first half. Garland added 11 points with nine coming in the fourth quarter. Parlier added 10 points and 11 rebounds and Erika Potter contributed eight.
The Lady Rangers shot a sizzling 50 percent, 11-of-22 from behind the three-point line.
Tolley saved his best analogy about the game for last.
“It’s not where we want to be by any means, but it’s a whole lot better than what I saw on Monday night. We didn’t show up over at Wilkes.”

Unaka 59, Johnson County 43

UNAKA (59)
Sar. Tipton 15, Garland 11, Parlier 10, Potter 8, Markland 6, Sar. Tipton 6, Grindstaff 3, Forney 0, Whitehead 0

JOHNSON CO. (43)
Parsons 13, Cox 10, Stout 8, E. Miller 5, C. Brooks 5, Hall 2, Winters 0, Peele 0, B. Miller 0, B. Brooks 0.

Unaka 16 11 17 15 — 59
J.C. 10 9 7 17 — 43
3-point goals—Unaka 11 (Sar. Tipton 4, Garland 3, Sav. Tipton 2, Markland 2). JC 4 (Stout 2, Parsons, C. Brooks)