Gatlinburg-Pittman vs Riverside (SC)

Lady Highlanders hold off Riverside (SC) to advance to Winter Classic final


GATLINBURG – The Winterfest Shootout is the girls basketball tournament being played at Sevier County High School this week, but the Lady Highlanders found themselves in a winter shootout in the Smoky Mountain Winter Classic at Gatlinburg on Thursday night.

Maddy Newman

Maddy Newman goes up for a layup against Riverside’s Addy Trickett (35) during the Lady Highlanders’ 85-73 win. Photo by Brian Hamilton

The Lady Highlanders scored early and often, but so did Riverside (SC), as the two teams traded baskets throughout much of the first half. Gatlinburg-Pittman saw a 15 point lead almost evaporate before the half, due the Lady Warriors three-point shooting, but were able to push the lead back to 20 in the third quarter before having to stave off a Riverside rally.

Gatlinburg-Pittman was able to fend off the Lady Warriors late, however, winning 85-73 and advancing to the championship game on Friday.

Despite the win, Gatlinburg-Pittman head coach Katie Moore was not entirely pleased with her team’s intensity and ability to stay focused for 32 minutes.

“I thought we kind of got complacent and nonchalant offensively and defensively,” Moore said after the game. “We kept telling (the team) that they were pretty good shooters and I knew at any moment they could start knocking down some shots. I thought we had some breakdowns defensively. I thought that hurt us, not only to give them some easy layups, but also just rebounding on the backside. That’s kind of what we talked about at the end of the game; ‘Yes, you won, but when it matters, we have to be good at what we teach and we’re gonna try to do that tomorrow.'”

Gatlinburg-Pittman drew first blood on a Leah Stinnett jumper, followed by a midrange jumper by Addi Wear, which gave the Lady Highlanders an early 4-0 lead.

Aylissa Pelzer scored the first bucket for Riverside, making the score 4-2. Wear came down and drained a three-pointer to give Gatlinburg-Pittman a 7-2 lead, as the sophomore sparked the offense early for the Lady Highlanders.

“I think Addi (Wear) does a great job of starting for us and getting a spark going for us,” Moore said. “She has the ability to knock down shots for us and she handles the ball pretty well. I think she does a nice job sticking to the system and making sure we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”

A three-pointer by Nya Burns extended the Gatlinburg lead to 10-4, followed by a spin move and layup by Maddy Newman, which gave the Lady Highlanders a 12-6 lead with 5:22 left in the first.

Nya Burns

Nya Burns goes up for an easy layup on a fast break after a steal. Photo by Brian Hamilton

Riverside would punch back, however, as sophomore Sophia Powell made a hook shot, followed by two free throws to pull the Lady Warriors back to within 12-10.

Wear would make a jumper to push the Lady Highlander lead back to 14-10 on the next possession, as the sophomore guard would finish the second quarter with seven points.

Kyndal Horoski scored on a backdoor layup to trim the Gatlinburg-Pittman lead to 18-15 with just over three minutes remaining in the opening period. From that point, the Lady Highlanders would end the quarter on a 10-4 run, thanks in part to three-pointers by Burns and Maliyah Glasper. Gatlinburg would take a 28-19 lead into the second quarter.

Elly Trickett would score on a layup to open the second quarter, cutting the Gatlinburg-Pittman lead to 28-21, but Glasper responded with a layup to push the Lady Highlander lead to 30-21.

A technical foul was called on Riverside head coach Brianne Jones on the next Lady Highlanders possession and Stinnett went to the line and converted both free throws. Maddy Newman then scored on a layup to stretch the Gatlinburg-Pittman lead to 34-21 with 6:37 left in the half.

Burns made a layup with just under six minutes left to give the Lady Highlanders their largest lead of the game at 36-21.

Riverside then pushed back and embarked on a 9-0 run after Hannah Halt nailed a long three-pointer, cutting the Gatlinburg-Pittman lead to 36-29 with 4:29 left in the half. Another three by Halt would pull the Lady Warriors even closer, at 38-32 with just under four minutes to go before intermission.

Gatlinburg-Pittman would hold serve during the second half of the quarter and didn’t let Riverside inch any closer, as the Lady Highlanders went to the locker room with a 48-40 halftime lead.

The third quarter is where Gatlinburg-Pittman really imposed its will on the game, as the Lady Highlanders opened the quarter with a 12-3 run to take a 60-43 lead with just over five minutes left in the period.

After two consecutive layups by Newman, the Lady Highlanders looked up and saw themselves leading by 20, at 64-44 with 3:14 left in the third, stretching the run to 16-4.

Maliyah Glasper

Maliyah Glasper goes up for a layup while Riverside’s Aylissa Pelzer defends. Photo by Brian Hamilton

Miah Johnson would stop the bleeding for Riverside when she banked a three-pointer to make the score 64-47. Burns would clean up a missed shot and convert a layup on the other end to push the Gatlinburg-Pittman lead to 66-47. The Lady Highlanders would take a 71-54 lead into the final stanza, as Stinnett scored a layup at the third quarter buzzer.

Gatlinburg-Pittman saw what was once a 20-point lead shrink to 75-64 in the fourth quarter, as Madison Garrido nailed a three with 3:30 left in the game. A pair of Trickett free throws would cut the Warriors’ deficit to single-digits, at 75-66 with 2:40 to go.

Burns was fouled on a drive on the next Lady Highlander possession and converted both free throws to push the lead back to 77-66.

Riverside continued to hang around late in the game, but Stinnett was fouled on a fast break with 1:45 remaining and made both foul shots to give Gatlinburg an 80-69 lead. The nail on the coffin came on the next defensive possession, as Burns grabbed a steal and took it for a layup to put the Lady Highlanders ahead 82-69 with 1:22 remaining.

Gatlinburg-Pittman would go on to win 85-73 to advance to the championship game of the tournament.

The Lady Highlanders finished with five players in double figures. Maddy Newman led all scorers with 25, while Nya Burns finished with 20. Leah Stinnett added 17, while Maliyah Glasper and Addi Wear scored 10 apiece.

Kyndal Haroski led Riverside with 17 points, while Elly Trickett finished with 14 and Sophia Powell added 13 for the Lady Warriors.

Gatlinburg-Pittman (15-2) will face Lebanon (9-4) in the championship game at 5:30 p.m. on Friday at the Gatlinburg-Pittman High School gymnasium.

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