Sevier County - King of Smokies Classic Champion

Sevier County gets big game from underclassman trio to win King of Smokies Classic


PIGEON FORGE – Sevier County held off Jasper (13-3), one of the top teams in Alabama, 63-50 to win the King of the Smokies Christmas Classic on Friday afternoon.

The Smoky Bears (12-5) were able to weather the hot shooting of Caden Steiner, who hit five three-pointers and scored all 17 of the Vikings’ first half points, thanks to the play of Reed Ownby, Jayden Barton and Parker Newman. The ‘Big 3’, as Sevier County head coach Ken Wright referred to the trio, scored every point for the Smoky Bears until a pair of Mason Ward free throws with with just under three minutes left in the game.

Jayden Barton

Jayden Barton (22) goes up for a layup during Sevier County’s 63-50 win over Jasper. Photos by Brian Hamilton

“They’re our three scorers and against a team like that who traps and jumps and everything, the young guys don’t want to get in there and attack that stuff, so they’re fine just passing the basketball and getting it to the bigs so they can get their shots,” Wright said. “I was just impressed at how our guys really did a great job attacking their traps and getting some layups against their traps. I couldn’t be more proud of the way our guys played. They were warriors. They all played hard and did everything we asked of them.”

Parker Newman scored the first five points for Sevier County on a layup, three-pointer, and a basket off a steal, putting the Smoky Bears ahead 7-0. A layup by Jayden Barton would give Sevier an early 9-0 lead and force Jasper to call its first timeout of the game.

Caden Steiner then caught fire for the Vikings, as the sophomore came out of the timeout and hit three consecutive triples to tie the score at 9-9 with just over two minutes left in the opening period.

Newman converted a pair of free throws, followed by a baseline jumper by Barton to give the Smoky Bears a 13-9 lead. Sevier County would lead 15-11 at the end of the first quarter.

Reed Ownby would score his first points on a layup to open the second quarter, followed by a Newman three-pointer to put Sevier County in front 20-11.

Steiner drained his fourth triple on the next Jasper possession to cut the Smoky Bears’ lead to 20-14 with 6:16 left in the first half. Steiner would hit his fifth three-pointer of the half with 2:35 left, pulling the Vikings to within 20-17.

Parker Newman

Parker Newman (12) grabs a rebound. The freshman finished with 17 points in the game. Photo by Brian Hamilton

Ownby would answer with two baskets, with one being a layup to beat the halftime buzzer, sending the Smoky Bears to halftime with a 24-17 lead.

Newman would open the third quarter with a three-pointer to stretch the Sevier County lead to 27-17, extending the Smoky Bears’ run to 7-0, dating back to the first half.

Jasper would snap the Sevier County run on a finger roll by Miller Moody, which was the first points by someone other than Steiner for the Vikings.

Steiner would grab a steal and make a layup to cut the Sevier lead to 27-21, but Ownby answered back with a three, pushing the Smoky Bears’ lead back to 30-21 midway through the third quarter.

Ethan Thorne nailed a three to make the score 30-24, but Sevier County continued to match every Viking run, blow for blow, as Barton hit a three to make the score 33-24.

A driving layup by Parker Newman gave Sevier its largest lead of the game, at 35-24 with 2:12 left in the quarter, but Jon Luke Walker answered with a three for Jasper to cut the Vikings’ deficit to 35-27.

A technical foul was called on Jasper coach Heath Burns late in the third quarter and Ownby went to the line and sank both foul shots making the score 37-27.

Jayden Barton

Jayden Barton (22) attempts a layup while Jasper’s Jon Luke Walker (12) defends. Photo by Brian Hamilton

Clayton Thorne would hit a driving layup to make the score 37-29 with 1:14 left in the third, but Ownby later responded with a fadeaway over two Jasper defenders with 11 seconds left to send the Smoky Bears to the final period leading 39-29.

Jasper opened the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run, capped by a three by Clayton Thorne to trim the Sevier County lead to 39-36, but a layup by Barton would end the run, stretching the Smoky Bears’ lead to 41-36.

“We made a couple silly turnovers and they scored off of them,” Wright said of the Jasper run. “We lost our focus, so we had to get our focus back and we changed our press break and went to a three on the side press break. It worked really well there and they really weren’t able to handle it at the end of the game.”

Barton was fouled on the next Sevier possession and made both shots from the charity stripe to give Sevier County a 43-36 lead with 5:44 left.

A three by Barton would give the Smoky Bears a double-digit lead, at 51-41, with 3:33 left in the game. Jasper fell behind 55-41 after a Barton layup and two free throws by Mason Ward.

The Vikings started intentionally fouling Sevier County with just over two minutes left in the game, but the Smoky Bears took care of business from the foul line and went on to win 63-50.

Jayden Barton and Caden Steiner each finished with a game-high 24 points, while Reed Ownby had 18 and Parker Newman added 18 for Sevier County.

Wright praised the recent play of two-sport freshman Parker Newman after the game.

“When you come from football, you’re always behind,” said Wright. “Generally, I say it takes until Christmas for football players to become basketball players, but he’s a basketball player now. He’s worked hard and has done a great job.”

Miller Moody scored eight for Jasper, while Ethan Thorne added seven for the Vikings.

Wright spoke after the game about his team’s plan to neutralize Moody, the Vikings’ 6-9 center, who had big games against Morristown West and Knox Catholic in the first two tournament games.

“(Steiner) came out and just lit us up, so we said that we have got to stop him,” Wright said. “With (Moody), we tried to front him a couple times, but he just pinned us high and got the lobs on us and sealed us down at the rim, so we put Parker (Newman) on him and told him to stay behind him and make him shoot over him. Parker’s 6-5, so that’s not an easy shot for him. Reed did a good job on him and Parker did a good job on him. They worked hard to keep the ball out of his hands.”

Sevier County will be back in action on January 5 at Jefferson County, while Jasper heads back to Alabama and faces off against Hamilton on January 2.


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