Sevier County vs Rogers

Sevier County uses strong second half to defeat Rogers (AL) in King of Smokies Classic


PIGEON FORGE – Sevier County got off to a slow start on Thursday morning, but was able to pull away comfortably in the second half, thanks to a stifling full-court press. The Smoky Bears outscored Rogers 40-21 in the second half to win 67-37 in the first round of the King of the Smokies Classic in Pigeon Forge.

Reed Ownby

Sevier County’s Reed Ownby (23) goes up for a basket as Griffin Herston (1) and Jacob Lee (10) defend for Rogers. Photo by Brian Hamilton

“We just played with no energy to start,” Sevier County coach Ken Wright said after the game. “You give them off four days and that’s just typical over the Christmas holidays. They stay up late when they have four days off in a row and that shows up.”

Sevier County took an early 5-3 lead, but Rogers would regain the advantage at 8-7 before Jayden Barton hit a jumper to give the Smoky Bears a 9-8 advantage. Sevier County would never trail again in the contest.

A steal and layup by Bryson Hedrick, followed by a jumper by Trenton Lethco would give Sevier County a 13-9 lead after one quarter of play.

The Smoky Bears would take a 17-11 lead early in the second quarter, but Damian Thompson would hit a layup to pull Rogers to within 17-16 with 4:45 left in the half.

Sevier County then went on an 10-0 run to end the half, as Reed Ownby nailed a three, followed by steals and layups by both Barton and Hedrick. The Smoky Bears would take a 27-16 lead at the half.

Ownby hit a layup to open the third quarter, which extended the Sevier run to 12-0, dating back to the first half, giving the Smoky Bears a 29-16 lead.

Parker Newman

Parker Newman (12) goes up for a layup as Rogers’ Will Robertson (22) defends. Photo by Brian Hamilton

Will Robertson hit a layup for Rogers to make the score 29-18 with 6:13 left in the third quarter, but Sevier County would then embark on a 6-0 run, which included a pair of baskets by freshman Parker Newman, to take a 35-18 lead.

Sevier County would continue to pressure Rogers’ guards into turnovers in the second half, as Barton three-pointer would put the Smoky Bears ahead 47-26 with 2:29 left in the third quarter. Sevier County would take a 51-31 lead into the final period.

Barton would start the fourth quarter with a layup to give Sevier County a 53-31 lead. Hedrick would follow that by making a nice assist to Barton for another layup to stretch the lead to 55-31.

Wright would empty his bench in the fourth quarter, giving his young players a chance to play. Reserves Cooper Calfee and Daniel Tarwater each nailed three-pointers late in the fourth quarter, as the Smoky Bears would win 67-37.

Despite the big win, Wright said he would like to see more intensity out of his team.

“I still don’t think we ever had all five going hard at the same time. We had silly turnovers on inbounds, just stupid stuff that you can’t do. I’m not pleased at all with it, but I’ve been around long enough to know that’s what you get a lot of times after holiday break.”

Reed Ownby and Jayden Barton each led Sevier County with 15 points apiece, while Parker Newman finished with 11. Roman Gibbons and Trenton Lethco each finished with seven points apiece.

Rogers finished with two players in double-figure scoring, as Damian Thompson had 11 and Will Robertson added 10.

Sevier County (10-5) will face Gallatin (10-3) in the semifinals at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday at Pigeon Forge High School, while Rogers (7-9) will take on Volunteer (2-13) at 3:30 p.m. at Pigeon Forge Junior High.

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