Ty Glasper

Highlanders defeat West Greene 86-66 to earn berth in region semifinals


GATLINBURG – The Highlanders withstood a scoring barrage by West Greene’s Leyton Frye, who finished with 33, to outlast and outscore the Buffaloes 86-66 and earn a berth in the regional semifinals next Tuesday.

“We played them last year and he did the same thing last year,” Gatlinburg-Pittman head coach Rashid Moore said of Frye. “He had probably 25 or 30 last year against us. We watched their district consolation game quite a bit and I don’t know the point total, but he might have had 40. He scores at a really high rate, so the game plan was to keep him in front of us and we didn’t do a great job of that. We’ve got to do a better job of executing the game plan and making kids work.”

Frye scored exactly half of West Greene’s points, but for every run by the Buffaloes, Gatlinburg-Pittman seemed to have an answer. The win puts the Highlanders one step closer to their goal, which is to earn a berth in the regional final.

Carlos Orr

Gatlinburg-Pittman’s Carlos Orr (2) goes up for a jump shot over West Greene defenders. The junior forward scored 10 of his 19 points in the first quarter. Photo by Brian Hamilton

“It’s huge, because any time you win an elimination game, regardless of who your opponent is, it’s major,” Moore said. “They wouldn’t have made it to this point if they weren’t good enough to beat us, so we respected them as a program. We know about (Frye) and (Turner) and they came up huge and competed. I’m proud of our guys that we were able to lead from start to finish and close on a good note.”

Gatlinburg-Pittman led 11-6 early in the first quarter when West Greene’s Frye hit a jumper to make the score 11-8. The Highlanders would rattle off six straight points from that juncture, however, fueled by a long jumper by Carlos Orr, extending the lead to 17-8 with 2:44 left in the opening period.

A three-pointer by Orr would stretch the Gatlinburg-Pittman lead to 22-10 with just over one minute left in the first quarter, but a triple by Conner Campbell would make the score 22-13 with eight seconds left in the first. The Highlanders would take a nine-point lead into the second quarter.

Orr had a strong first quarter for GP, finishing with 10 points.

Wade Whaley hit a three to open the second quarter, as Gatlinburg-Pittman led 25-13. Whaley would hit another three soon after — this time calling glass — to put the Highlanders ahead 32-19 with 4:16 left in the first half.

Ty Glasper, who played sparingly in the contest, came into the game midway through the second quarter and immediately scored two baskets to give the Highlanders a 38-21 lead.

West Greene’s Ethan Turner scored a basket and was fouled, but missed the foul shot, trimming the Buffaloes’ deficit to 40-23 with just over two minutes left in the second quarter.

Wade Whaley made a nice pump fake and went to the hoop for a layup to put Gatlinburg-Pittman ahead 44-26 with just under a minute remaining. On the next Highlander possession, Jackson DeSear knocked down a three to give GP a 47-28 lead with 21 seconds until halftime.

Mason McCamey hit a layup for West Greene with five seconds left in the half, sending the Buffaloes to the locker room trailing 47-30 at the break.

Frye opened the second half with a jumper to cut the West Greene deficit to 47-32. A Glasper layup would put Gatlinburg-Pittman ahead 49-33, but the Buffaloes would go on a 5-0 run, capped by a Frye three-pointer, forcing Moore to call a timeout, as the Highlanders clung to a 49-38 lead with 5:10 left in the third.

Wade Whaley would end the drought with a layup to put the Highlanders ahead 51-38 with 3:49 left in the quarter, but McCamey answered with a layup to pull West Greene to within 51-40. Gatlinburg-Pittman would go on a 6-0 run, however, to put the Highlanders in front 57-40 with 1:32 left in the third quarter.

Whaley made big play, after big play, down the stretch, as the sophomore hit a putback and was fouled, converting the three-point play for a 60-42 Gatlinburg-Pittman lead. Glasper then corralled his own rebound and stuck it in to make the score 62-42 with 33 seconds left in the third.

Ty Glasper

Ty Glasper (10) goes up for a floater over West Greene’s Evan Dearinger (21) during the Highlanders’ 86-66 win over the Buffaloes. Glasper finished with 23 points. Photo by Brian Hamilton

Frye would hit a basket with 21 seconds left in the third period, sending Gatlinburg-Pittman to the final quarter with a 62-44 lead.

Gatlinburg-Pittman stretched its lead to 70-45 early in the fourth quarter, but West Greene’s Frye was not going quietly into the night, as the senior guard went off for 15 of his game-high 33 in the final frame.

West Greene went on a 6-0 run to cut the Gatlinburg-Pittman deficit to 72-61 with 4:52 left. Frye scored on consecutive layups to cut the Highlander lead to 74-65, but was whistled for a technical foul after screaming at the referee regarding an and-one call.

A pair of free throws by Whitman Whaley and a putback by Wade Whaley would stretch the lead to 79-57 with 1:46 left. Frye scored another basket with just over one minute remaining to cut the GP lead to 79-61 when West Greene was whistled with another technical foul. This time, it was a student on the bench in street clothes whistled for the technical.

Ethan Reagan went to the line and sank both technical free throws and then calmly drained a three from the top of the arch, giving Gatlinburg-Pittman an 84-61 lead.

Frye hit a three for West Greene with 45 seconds remaining to cut the Highlanders’ deficit to 84-64. Gatlinburg-Pittman had all but wrapped up the game, but in a rather odd sequence of events, Frye decided to intentionally foul Jackson DeSear with five seconds left, sending the senior to the foul line.

DeSear sank both free throws to give Gatlinburg-Pittman an 86-66 win and a berth in the regional semifinal at Davy Crockett on Tuesday.

West Greene’s Leyton Frye finished with a game-high 33 points, while Glasper led Gatlinburg-Pittman with 23 points. Carlos Orr finished with 19, while Wade Whaley added 15.

Whaley has stepped up during the postseason and is becoming a viable scoring option for the Highlanders. The sophomore forward had a career-high 21 points against Pigeon Forge in the district semifinal.

“Wade is just an energy guy,” Moore said of Whaley’s recent emergence. “We knew that his skills would progress and he’d get better as time went on, as far as shooting and ball handling, but he’s just always been an energy guy and he’s a long athlete. We knew that he would have a good career. He’s a kid who comes in every day before school and shoots, even when it’s not mandatory. That’s paying off for him. His work ethic is unbelievable.”

Gatlinburg-Pittman (20-8) will face South Greene on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Davy Crockett. The Rebels (21-10) are coming off an 82-55 win over Pigeon Forge in the region quarterfinals.

West Greene’s season ends with a record of 15-20.







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