Lady Highlanders take down CCHS
The Gatlinburg-Pittman basketball squads hit the road Tuesday night for a short road trip to Cocke County, splitting a pair with the home squads.
The G-P girls ran away with a 55-37 win, while the G-P boys fell 76-71 to the Roosters.
After a low-scoring first half, the Lady Highlanders (5-1) finally got their offense on track in the second half, running away with a big 18-point win that wasn’t that close against the homestanding Lady Red (3-4).
“We had trouble scoring early on, but we came out in the second half much more confident and knocked down some shots,” said G-P coach Katie Parton. “We lost a little confidence when we didn’t score early, but we talked about hitting the next shot at halftime. They came out (in the third) knocked some shots down, and that got them back kinda feeling the fever.
“And defensively, I thought we played well all night, and everyone on the bench got to play. So, it was a good night.”
After an 0-5 start last season, the G-P girls are feeling much better about 2012 so far.
“It’s a much better feeling than last year,” said Parton. “Hopefully this will carry over. Hopefully winning will continue to be contagious and help us later in the season as well.” The Lady Highlanders earned their first lead of the night when junior Micki Werner made a nice spin move to the basket for a 3-2 edge with 34 seconds in the opening frame. G-P senior Karsen Sims kept her team in front at intermission with a nice drive to the hole with 4.7 seconds until the half, making it 16-14 Blue and Gold at the break. The Lady Highlanders opened the third with a 9-0 spurt when Werner started things with a field goal with 7:43. G-P sophomore Dannie Luczak followed with a pair of shots, and Sims made it 25-14 with a trey at the 4:45 mark, giving the Lady Highlanders their first double-digit lead of the night.
Cocke County cut it to seven points, 25-18, after Allison Ball hit a pair of charity shots and Jordan Ray drained an 11-footer with 3:53 in the third.
But that’s as good as it would get for the IMAC Conference Lady Roosters the rest of the night.
G-P sophomore Haris Price — who led all scorers with 20 points in the win — quickly made it double-digits again when she sniped a trey to make it 28-18 with 3:29 in the third.
G-P junior Hunter Price kept it a 10-point lead, 35-25, heading into the fourth with a buzzer-beating shot with a foot on the 3-point line.
Luczak had the hot hand to start the fourth, hitting three consecutive field goals for a 42-25 lead at the 6:50 mark.
That led to a 15-0 Blue-and-Gold run to start the final frame, and when Price sniped a trey midway through the fourth, G-P had its biggest lead of the night, 50-25. The Lady Highlanders slowed it down from there, cruising to the eventual final.
Haris Price hit 11 charity shots and led all scorers with 20 points, Luczak followed with 12, Sims had seven, Hunter Price and Werner had four apiece, sophomores Macee Tinker and Alicia Sumeriski had three apiece, and sophomore Bethany Sutton and freshman Julia Maloney added a charity shot each in the victory. Mika Wester and Ray led the Lady Red with eight points apiece, Hannah Miller and Ball had six each, Hannah Ward had five, and Kaitlyn Martin and Sharina Cofield had a deuce apiece in the loss.
In the boys contest, the Highlanders (4-2) battled back, battled back some more and then battled back again before finally dropping a five-point disappointment Tuesday night at Cocke County (3-4). G-P expected to have a size advantage in the paint against the IMAC Conference Fighting Cocks, but 6-foot-6 senior Blade Durbin missed the game due to an illness, and the undersized Highlanders were forced to do their scoring from the perimeter.
“It seemed like every time we’d tie it up or go up by a point, Cocke County had an answer for us,” said G-P boys’ coach A.J. Bennett. “And it’s hard to play catch-up, especially on the road.
“Having Blade out with the flu really hurt us, because we thought we’d have an advantage inside. With him out, we had to rely too much on outside shooting. We’ll learn from it and be better for it later in the season.
“Cocke County has been up-and-down a little bit ... but when they’re on, they can beat anybody.”
And Tuesday night the Roosters were on, especially outside shooter Jacob White and inside presence Dylan Dockery, who scored 24 and 20 points respectively to lead all scorers. The Highlanders fell into a 7-0 hole to start but kept battling to keep it close, 20-15, heading into the second. The Roosters pulled away again in the second quarter, and when Dockery drained a trey with 5:12 on the clock, Cocke County had its first double-digit lead of the night, 31-19.
G-P answered with a 12-2 run when G-P junior Stephan Schroeder caught fire with a trio of treys, along with a 3-pointer by sophomore Raj Bhula to cut it to 33-31 with 3:17 in the second.
The Highlanders snatched their only lead of the night, 36-35, when sophomore Cole Fuller hit 1-of-2 from the stripe after drawing a hard shooting foul with 1:12 before intermission. But Cocke County’s Kyle Green drained a 17-footer 42 seconds before intermission to put the Roosters in front for good, 39-37, heading into the second half.
Newport built its lead to 63-52 with 6:52 in regulation when Jerick Varner drained a 14-foot bank shot for his team’s biggest fourth-quarter lead.
G-P cut it to just three points, 65-62, when senior Davis Soehn sniped a trey with 4:58 in regulation, but that’s as good as it would get for the Highlanders the rest of the way as Dockery and White closed it out with nine combined points down the stretch. Schroeder led G-P with 17 points, Bhula added 15, Soehn had 14, junior Clay Leatherwood had 11, junior Christian Maloney had nine, junior Thomas Mackey had four and Fuller added a charity shot in the loss.
Cocke County’s Hunter Suggs was the other Rooster with double-digits, scoring 10 in the win. Green and Varner added eight points apiece, Kimbel Thornton had three, Kyal Clevenger had a deuce and Sam Gun added a free throw in the win.
The G-P teams next host The King’s Academy on Thursday night before traveling to district rival Union County on Friday.
The Cocke County squads next travel to district rival Morristown East on Tuesday, Dec. 4.