Lady Highlanders notch huge comeback vs. Fulton
The Gatlinburg-Pittman hoops squads hosted District 3-AA rival Fulton on Friday night and split a pair with the visiting birds.
The Lady Highlanders made a dramatic 17-point fourth-quarter comeback for a 65-62 win, while the G-P boys fell into a big early hole en route to a big 76-56 loss to the Falcons.
Despite trailing by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter, the Lady Highlanders (10-2 overall, 4-0 in District 3-AA) managed a dramatic come-from-behind win over the visiting Lady Falcons (6-2, 4-1).
When sophomore Dannie Luczak made a nice power move to the basket for a layup with 9 seconds on the clock for a 63-62 Blue-and-Gold lead, the Lady Highlanders had their first second-half lead of the contest.
G-P sophomore guard Haris Price — in her first game action since returning from an injury — then forced a Fulton turnover, and senior Karsen Sims iced it with a pair of charity shots to make it the three-point final with 1.6 seconds.
“I think the (G-P) girls just finally pulled together and just decided it was something they wanted more than (Fulton),” said G-P coach Katie Parton. “The girls just played with a lot of heart and emotion in the fourth quarter.”
The Lady Highlanders remain unblemished in District 3-AA action with the dramatic victory and have now posted wins against perennial district powerhouses Pigeon Forge and Fulton.
“It was a great win for the girls, and I’m just really excited for them,” said Parton.
“It will be a great experience for us to look back on, because we’ll know we’ve been down by 17 points and have the ability to come back.
“Hopefully that will help us later in the season when we need it.”
After a sloppy turnover-filled third quarter, G-P found itself in desperate straits and trailing 55-38 heading into the fourth frame.
“We played a terrible, terrible third quarter,” said Parton.
But the Lady Highlanders kept plugging away, and when Sims hit a pair of free throws with 3:57 in regulation, G-P had cut it back to single digits, 58-49.
Luczak then grabbed a rebound and put it back in for two before hitting a pair of charity shots on consecutive possessions to cut it to 58-53 with 2:51, and Price followed with a pair from the stripe to cut it to a single-possession game, 58-55, with 2:35.
After a basket by Fulton’s Brittanie Whiteside, Price again came through with a pair of free throws and a fastbreak layup to cut it to 60-59 with 1:26.
Fulton’s Victoria Griffin answered with an 8-footer with 49 seconds to give the Lady Falcons a 62-59 lead.
But G-P junior Micki Werner hit a layup off a nice assist from Price, who had just made a hustle play to retrieve a loose ball, to cut it to 62-61 with 25.4 seconds.
The Lady Highlanders had a nice start against the Lady Falcons.
When G-P freshman Macee Tinker dished a fast-break assist to teammate sophomore Bethany Sutton to close out the first quarter scoring, the Lady Highlanders held a slim 15-12 edge heading into the second frame.
But seven missed second-quarter free throws by G-P, combined with some hot shooting by Fulton’s Jayda Johnson — who scored nine of her 15 first-half points in the second quarter — saw the visiting Lady Falcons to a 32-27 lead at the break.
Luczak led the Lady Highlanders with 21 points, Sims followed with 18, Sutton had eight, Price added seven, Werner and sophomore Alicia Sumeriski had four apiece, freshman Julia Maloney had a deuce and freshman Macee Tinker added a charity shot in the win.
Fulton’s Johnson led all scorers with 24 points, Tyanna Castle added 10, Moneisha Thomas had nine, Griffin had seven, Nataya Roller had six, Brittanie Whiteside had four and Bri Greenlee added a deuce in the heartbreaking loss.
The Highlanders (8-5 overall, 1-3 in District 3-AA) had a tough night against the district rival Falcons (6-2, 4-1) with a 20-point loss to the visitors on Friday night.
G-P struggled to keep pace with Fulton throughout the first half, trailing 12-5 at the end of the first en route to an 18-point 37-19 deficit by intermission.
Things didn’t improve in the third frame as the Falcons maintained that same 18-point margin, 54-36, heading into the fourth.
“Fulton came out and got on us early,” said G-P coach A.J. Bennett. “And we didn’t match their energy.
“But we can’t worry about this, because we’ve got (district rival) Austin-East on the road on Monday, and we’ve got to have a better effort.”
G-P junior Steffan Schroeder led the Highlanders with 17 points, senior Blade Durbin added 10, senior Davis Soehn and junior Clay Leatherwood had nine apiece, junior Thomas Mackey had six, junior Christian Maloney had three, and junior Riley Trotter had a deuce in the loss.
Micah Goss led Fulton and all scorers with 24 points, Blake Golden added 19, Bryan Smith had eight, Kentel Williams had seven, Josh Nance and Brody Stone had six apiece, Kelvin Jackson had three, Derek Delaney had a deuce, and Chase Hamilton added a charity shot in the win.
The G-P squads next travel to district rival Austin-East on Monday, while the Fulton squads next host Farragut on Wednesday.