Lady Tigers finish outside 3-AA top 3 for first time
For the first time in seven meetings, the Austin-East Lady Roadrunners got the best of the Pigeon Forge Lady Tigers.
A-E (13-8 overall) was unstoppable in overtime in a 65-55 victory over the girls in orange and black (18-9 overall), outscoring PF 11-2 in the final four-minute frame of the District 3-AA Consolation Game.
“We played pitiful,” said Pigeon Forge coach Paul Reagan, who’s never had a team finish outside the league’s top two since taking the helm of the Lady Tigers four years ago.
Pigeon Forge was without two starters, point guard Rebecca Baker and guard Courtney Leatherwood, but Reagan said that was no excuse.
“It’s tough playing without two starters, but that shouldn’t matter,” Reagan said, insisting his team should have found a way to win.
The PFHS squad was obviously missing its floor general, as it often looked out of sync offensively.
After a back-and-forth affair for the first three quarters, Austin-East began to take over early in the fourth.
At various times in the first six minutes of the quarter, the Lady Roadrunners led by as many as eight points, and they held a 51-45 advantage with just 1:22 left.
But a layup from Mikayla Trombley and a three-point play from freshman Sarah Hill cut the A-E advantage to one in just 19 seconds.
A pair of free throws from senior Mindy Brackins — who led Pigeon Forge with 20 points — gave the Lady Tigers their first lead since early in the half.
A-E’s Jalen Harper evened the score at 52-52 just moments later, and the teams each tallied two points in the final 30 seconds to end regulation tied 54-54.
Overtime belonged to Austin-East — and specifically to the Lady Roadrunners’ Harper.
Harper scored eight of her 24 points in the extra period, including all of an 8-0 A-E run, which sealed the game for fourth-seeded Roadrunners.
Angelique Hyatt, who did most of her work in the first three quarters for A-E, dominated the paint and led all scorers with 28 points.
Only two other A-E players scored, Jamyra Carvin had seven, and Tineya Harris netted six. Beyond Brackins’ 20-point night, Trombley added 17 points for PFHS. Clarrisa Crowley (8), Callie Clabo (4), Sarah Hill (4), and Katie Shields (2) also scored. The first half play, much like the second, was a mixed bag for the Lady Tigers.
The Orange and Black started strong, building on back-to-back 3-pointers from Trombley and Brackins to take a 12-6 lead five minutes in.
But careless turnovers and problems with containing Austin-East on the offensive glass allowed the Lady Roadrunners to close out the first quarter on a 5-0 run.
A deep two-point jumper from AE just before the buzzer narrowed the gap to 12-11.
The teams seesawed throughout the second quarter, but the Lady Tigers scored two-consecutive buckets to end the the frame, and led 23-19 at half following a long Clabo 3-pointer above the key just before the buzzer sounded.
Following the championship game, which was won by PF’s primary rival, Gatlinburg-Pittman, the Lady Tigers’ Mindy Brackins was named to the All-Tournament team.
Pigeon Forge will face the winner of District 4-AA, which was unknown as of press time, in the first round of the Region 2 tournament.