Lady Highlanders advance to title game
The No.1-seeded Gatlinburg-Pittman Lady Highlanders left no doubt in a big 68-48 District 3-AA Tournament semi-finals victory over the No.4 Austin-East Lady Roadrunners on Saturday night at Jack A. Parton Gymnasium.
The game was not as close as the 20-point final indicates.
“We came out really strong in the first half,” said G-P coach Katie Parton. “But in the second half (in a game like this), it always gets a little ugly when you play your whole bench.”
It was the third time this season that the Lady Highlanders (23-6) handled the Lady Roadrunners (12-8) with ease, although it had never been as easy as Saturday night’s 20-point trouncing. G-P won 57-42 and 67-50 in the two regular-season affairs with A-E.
“Overall, we played a pretty good game,” said Parton. “But we did have some break downs (in the second half) with some of the younger ones.”
Despite the lopsided final, A-E was the aggressor at the start.
Anjelique Hyatt took the opening tip and rushed it in for a layup and a 2-0 Lady Roadrunner edge with 7:56 in the first.
A-E went on to build a 5-2 lead when Timeya Harris hit a charity shot with 6:42 in the first, but it was all Lady Highlanders after that.
G-P junior Micki Werner started an 18-2 Lady Highlander run with a 10-footer at the 5:54 mark to cut it to 5-4.
Sophomore Haris Price followed with a layup and a 6-5 lead with 5:35, and the Lady Highlanders never trailed again.
G-P got its first double-digit lead when junior Hunter Price sniped a trey with 2:28 in the first, making it 17-5.
The Lady Highlanders got their first 20-point lead when senior Karsen Sims hit a charity shot to make it 29-9 with 5:10 in the half.
When Sims hit a 15-footer to close the second, the Lady Highlanders led 40-11.
When Haris Price hit a 3-pointer with 5:54 in the third, G-P led by 30 points ... 47-17.
G-P freshman Macee Tinker made the 35-point mercy rule clock start ticking when she converted a fastbreak layup to make it 54-19 with 4:08 in the third.
And the biggest Lady Highlander lead of the night came moments later when Sims hit a pair of charity shots to make it a 36-point contest at 56-20 with 3:31 in the third.
A-E managed to trim some of that down the stretch, but the game had long been decided as it shifted into some extended garbage time.
Sims led G-P with 16 points, Haris Price had 15, Luczak had 12, Werner had 10, Hunter Price had five, sophomores Bethany Sutton and Alicia Sumeriski had four apiece, and Tinker had the deuce in the win.
Jalan Harper led A-E and all scorers with 26 points, Harris had 14, Hyatt had seven, and Tyra Allmon had a charity shot in the loss.
G-P will advance to play the No.2 Fulton Lady Falcons (18-5) in the district tourney championship 7:30 p.m. Monday. The Lady Highlanders won the two regular-season meetings with Fulton by 65-62 and 67-59 finals.
“I think it will be a very good game,” said Parton. “We’re evenly matched teams, and it will all depend on rebounds and free throws. It will all come down to the fundamentals.”
The Lady Roadrunner season will also continue with a region tourney berth secured and a district tourney consolation contest against the Pigeon Forge Lady Tigers (17-9) at 6 p.m. Monday.