2020 Class AA Girls’ Sectional Gatlinburg-Pittman   44   Elizabethton   40 Lady Cyclones can’t catch up with Gatlingburg-Pittman 

Published 1:31 am Tuesday, March 10, 2020

For 31:55 of the game on Saturday in the Class AA Girls’ sectional being played at John Treadway Gym, the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones were chasing the Gatlinburg-Pittman Lady Highlanders trying to pull even and go ahead in the contest in their bid for a shot at another visit to the TSSAA Class AA Girls’ State Championship.
Despite laying everything out on the line including a fourth-quarter rally that had the Lady Cyclones within two points with 5.5 seconds left on the clock and ball in hand, the Lady Cyclones didn’t get the breaks needed as they dropped a gut-wrenching 44-40 loss to the visiting Lady Highlanders.
“Against good teams and especially in this game right here you can’t spot good teams a five-point lead you know, a two-possession game, and Gatlingburg-Pittman is a really good team and good at taking care of the ball,” said Lady Cyclone head coach Lucas Andrews.
“I thought we did a lot of things in the fourth quarter that was really good. We got after them a little bit and we thought we could if we needed too and we got some turnovers and made some shots.
The Lady Highlanders came out and quickly established a 13-6 lead at the end of the first quarter behind eight points from Taylor Reed. Morgan Headrick’s four points paced Elizabethton in the first period.
Gatlinburg-Pittman was able to maintain a six-point advantage at the break, 23-17, as Shelby Moore hit for four in the period to lead the Lady Highlanders.
Elizabethton senior Kaitlin Bailey came alive in the quarter as she scored eight of the 11 Lady Cyclone points to keep her team close.
Coming out of the locker room, each team would battle to a 10-10 deadlock as the Lady Highlanders took the 33-27 edge into the final eight minutes of regulation.
Looking at a three-possession deficit, Andrews sent his team out into a full-court press as the Lady Cyclones battled their heart out to turn the tide.
The Lady Cyclones were forced to foul as time was winding down and after a Moore miss on a one-and-one with eight seconds left, the Lady Cyclones pulled down the rebound and Andrews called timeout with 5.5 seconds left to set up a potential game-tying shot.
On the inbounds, as the Lady Cyclones were working toward the paint, a Lady Highlander got a finger on the basketball to tip the ball away into the hands of a teammate who was fouled immediately.
With .3 of a second left on the clock, the Lady Highlanders added two free throws to seal the four-point win.
Bailey finished with a game-high 16 points to lead the Lady Cyclones in her final game as a Lady Cyclone. Also, senior Kaylen Shell who had a big second half with 11 points total.
Headrick finished with six points while Lina Lyon added four points. Torrie Roberts finished with three.
Ivy Bales led the Lady Highlanders with a team-high 15 points followed by Reed with 10.
The Lady Cyclones were around the rim all night but unlike the game against Grainger County, the ball just wouldn’t fall through.
“You have to give Gatlingburg-Pittman credit because obviously they got film and saw where we shot well and they just closed out on us,” said Andrews. “They kind of got to us because we weren’t getting the shot off as fast as normal.”
After a second consecutive district championship, a region championship, and a sectional berth, Andrews said that the loss of the seniors from a team that put Elizabethton girls basketball back on the map was going to be immense.
“It’s just like I told the seniors, “You got this program back on track where Elizabethton girls basketball needs to be,” said Andrews. “I told them that it was on them and I am extremely proud. We are going to miss these seniors a lot. We love them to death.”

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