Move on to play West Greene in semi
The Lady Tigers tested the water and then roared away from Cumberland Gap 66-41 to advance into the semifinals of the District 2-AA tournament. Pigeon Forge built a double-digit lead in the first half, holding C-G to seven point quarters while the Lady Tigers clicked for double digits. PF maintained the lead through out the second half after trailing just once at 2-1 in the opening minutes of play.
After misfiring their first few possessions the Lady Tigers dented the scoreboard first with a Whitney Dodgen free throw. Pigeon Forge took the lead for good on a Kendra Newman steal and long assist to Lauren Fleming for a layup and a 3-2 count. The score stayed close and was tied at 7 up with 3:12 to go in the first stanza before Pigeon Forge ended the quarter on a 7-0 run. Newman ignited things by sinking a trey, forcing Cumberland Gap to extend their defense which had packed in close across the paint when possible. Newman picked off a pass as a follow up and Fleming scored by driving into the somewhat more open lane. Fleming got two more of her game high 17 on a quick feed from sophomore Haley Johnson. The 14-7 double-up continued into the second.
Nora Ramsey knocked one in off the glass to make it 16-9 early in the quarter and start another run by the Lady Tigers. The 10-1 eruption featured another bomb from Newman and a Dodgen offensive rebound and score on the Lady Tigers fourth shot of a possession. Holding a 25-11 edge with 3:09 to play in the first half, Pigeon Forge increased its lead. Tiffany Cox and Ramsey nailed short jumpers while Newman canned another three. Ramsey banged in all six of her points in the second and the last was followed by the only defensive lap Pigeon Forge offered to the seven seed in the quarter when they left Megan Russell open on the perimeter for a three that closed the half 34-14.
Newman’s three treys in the first kept the defense honest while Cumberland Gap struggled against the mixing of presses being thrown at them. C-G couldn’t help themselves at the foul line, hitting just two of their first eight tries.
Pigeon Forge opened the third showing how dangerous they can be from the charity stripe. Brianna Garrison, Fleming and Dodgen went a combined seven of eight over the opening four minutes of the second while C-G managed a single score. Newman’s fourth trey kept the deficit hovering around the 23-point mark. Pigeon Forge held the upperhand 53-30 going into the fourth.
Sophomore Charlee Hardy notched a steal and the score in the opening minutes of the final period. Newman hit her fifth and final trey followed by a Fleming putback bucket that cleared most of the remaining starters from the court for both squads with 2:37 left and the Lady Tigers leading 62-38.
Garrison connected on a trey with twenty seconds remaining to notch the first swish from three-point land from a Lady Tiger besides Newman in the game. Leisha Meade closed out the night, getting the final score on a transition feed.
Newman finished with 15 points, all on treys. Dodgen pounded in 14 while Garrison and Ramsey had six each in the win.
Pigeon Forge moves on to play West Greene who defeated Gatlinburg-Pittman in first round action. The win guarantees that the Lady Tigers have a regional berth waiting down the road. The second round game is set for 7 p.m. Thursday night at Morristown-West. A Lady Tigers victory would likely put them in a rematch contest with top-seeded, season champion South Greene. When the squads last met two weeks ago it took double-overtime in Greene County before the Lady Rebels won their perfect district record. The championship and consolation game are set for Friday night.