Pigeon Forge loses two to Fulton
The Pigeon Forge basketball squads traveled to District 3-AA rival Knoxville Fulton and dropped a pair of contests on Friday night, one a heartbreaker and one a blowout.
Despite controlling the contest most of the night, the Lady Tigers dropped a 51-47 decision.
The Tigers fell into a big early hole that just kept getting bigger in an eventual 81-40 loss.
— — —
Trailing throughout the contest — by as many as 10 points on two occasions — and by a 39-33 margin heading into the fourth, the homestanding Lady Falcons (9-3 overall, 3-1 in District 3-AA) rallied for an important four-point, come-from-behind, District 3-AA win over the visiting Lady Tigers (10-4, 4-2).
"It’s a disgusting feeling," said a disappointed Pigeon Forge coach Paul Reagan. "We played so well for three-and-a-half quarters.
"We didn’t give up, but we basically gave up the victory at the end."
After Pigeon Forge junior Courtney Leatherwood hit a 6-footer to give the Lady Tigers a 44-38 lead with 2:48 on the clock, Jayda Johnson and her Lady Falcon teammates took over.
Johnson hit a pair of and-1 plays, and Monisha Thomas and Nataya Roller added a pair of treys to fuel the comeback victory.
"Jayda Johnson kinda took it over there at the end of the game, and we turned it over too many times," said Reagan. "I’m proud of my girls, but I’m disgusted by this loss.
"Our shots didn’t go down (at the end), and we’ve got to find a way to shoot more than two foul shots in the second half."
After Leatherwood’s shot with 2:48, the Lady Tigers failed to score again until junior Callie Clabo drained an NBA-range 3-pointer to make it the eventual final with 5.2 seconds.
Despite a slow offensive start by both teams, the Lady Tigers managed to seize some control of the contest by the end of the first quarter, outscoring Fulton 11-4 in the final four minutes for a 14-6 Pigeon Forge edge at the end of one.
A pair of 3-point shots by Clabo and senior Mindy Brackins, along with a midcourt steal and layup by junior Mikayla Trombley, helped the Lady Tigers take the eight-point lead.
Pigeon Forge got its first double-digit lead of the night when junior Clarrisa Crowley made a strong move to the hole for a layup and a 20-10 lead with 4:14 until halftime.
But the Lady Falcons hung tough and stayed in the game, and when Fulton’s Thomas sniped a trey with 8 seconds in the second, Pigeon Forge’s lead had shrunk to 26-21 heading into the locker rooms.
The Lady Tigers opened the third quarter strong, taking a 31-22 lead when Crowley drove to the basket again with 6:40 on the clock.
But Fulton kept hanging around, and when Bri Greenlee hit 1-of-2 from the stripe with 49.3 seconds in the third, the game was tied at 33s.
But once again the Lady Tigers answered when Trombley and freshman Sarah Hill hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final 37 seconds for a 39-33 lead heading into the fourth.
Crowley made it 40-33 on a charity shot with 6:54 in regulation, but it was almost all Fulton after that.
Clabo led Pigeon Forge with 10 points, Crowley had nine, Hill had eight, Trombley and Leatherwood had seven apiece, Brackins had five, and senior Katie Shields added a charity shot in the loss.
Johnson and Thomas led Fulton and all scorers with 14 points each, Castle had 11, Greenlee and Roller had five apiece, and Jakayla Fain had a deuce in the win.
— — —
The Tigers (5-12 overall, 1-5 in District 3-AA) were in a 20-point 22-2 hole by the 3:11 mark of the first, and the tough homestanding Falcons (11-6, 5-1) kept throwing dirt on the Pigeon Forge grave from there.
Fulton led 29-8 at the end of the first, 48-15 at the half and 68-35 heading into the fourth en route to the 41-point Falcon victory.
Junior Trevor Jain led Pigeon Forge with 18 points, senior Kaleb Black had eight, senior Ben Vaughn had four, junior Anthony Shular and sophomore Kolby Black had three apiece, and junior Jake Kingery and Skylar Gibbons had a deuce each in the loss.
Micah Goss led Fulton and all scorers with 19 points, Kentel Williams had 15, Bryan Smith had 10, Darius Filer had nine, K.J. Roper had eight, Blake Golden had six, Chase Hamilton had five, Kelvin Jackson and Brody Stone had three apiece, Quentez Bradley had a deuce, and Jadarius Suber had a charity shot in the win.
— — —
The Pigeon Forge squads next travel to Austin-East on Tuesday, while the Falcons next host Powell on Tuesday.