G-P boys can’t overcome Tornadoes’ big 4th quarter

Teams tied at end of first 3 periods
Jan. 14, 2013 @ 09:59 AM

Close, but no cigar ... yet.

The Gatlinburg-Pittman Highlanders (11-9) were in a nip-and-tuck battle until the visiting Alcoa Tornadoes (8-7) took over down the stretch en route to a 58-47 victory Saturday night.

Despite the 11-point loss, G-P coach A.J. Bennett took some encouragement from what he saw throughout most of the game, which was tied 17-17 at the end of the first period, 32-32 at the break and 43-43 heading into the fourth.

“We played really, really tough for the first three quarters,” said Bennett. “We’ve got to learn to finish a complete game, but we’ve gotten better.

“We’re fighting through some adversity, but February we’ll be there. It’s time to make a move, and I believe our kids are ready to do that.”

Despite the somewhat mediocre season record for Alcoa, the Tornadoes are still a tough team.

“Alcoa has a lot of athletes, they know how to win and they’re a perennial state tournament team,” said Bennett. “But to play with them, I feel that we’re close (to a breakthrough), and hopefully we’ll be there in February.”

G-P junior Clay Leatherwood led the Highlanders and all scorers with 13 points, junior Thomas Mackey added 11, junior Steffan Schroeder had nine, sophomore Raj Bhula had six, and senior Davis Soehn and sophomore Gabe Hinton had four apiece in the loss.

Kenny Dixon led Alcoa and all scorers with 13 points, Peyton Hall added 12, Niko White had nine, Jordan Ferguson had eight, Garrett Anderson and Kyle Mitchell had five each, Brenden Teeter had four, and Malik Love added a deuce in the win.

The Highlanders next host District 3-AA rival Gibbs on Tuesday, while Alcoa hosts CAK on Tuesday.