GATLINBURG — For the first time in any of the current players’ lifetimes, Scott High was to have played for a berth in the substate on Tuesday, after going on the road to score a 58-57 upset over Gatlinburg-Pittman on Saturday.
The Highlanders knocked off G-P, the runner-up in District 3-AA, by overcoming a three-point deficit in the fourth quarter and holding on to the slimmest of margins for the final two minutes of the game.
Behind six fourth quarter points from Luke West, and four each from Logan Goodman and Trey Morrow, Scott High turned a 45-42 deficit into a 58-55 lead by going on a 16-10 run to start the quarter.
Then, with just under two minutes remaining, Gatlinburg knocked down a pair of free throws to cut the lead to a single point. G-P was seven of seven from the line in the fourth quarter.
Scott High would twice miss the front end of one-and-one free throw opportunities in the final minute of the game, but it wouldn’t matter. G-P, which had been called for only three second half fouls until the final minute of the fourth quarter, was forced to start fouling intentionally to start the clock. With just seconds remaining, the Highlanders missed the first of two free throws and Gatlinburg rebounded and used a time out with just eight seconds remaining. But G-P came up empty after a timeout, and Jon Hayden Strunk collected the rebound with seven-tenths of a second remaining.
Strunk missed the front-end of a one-and-one after being intentionally fouled, but it didn’t matter. G-P didn’t have any time outs remaining and was forced to attempt a full-court shot.
Strunk, one of three seniors on the Highlander team, had a big night, scoring 12 points.
Trey Morrow had six of his team-high 17 points in the first quarter, and the Highlanders led 10-9 early. Morrow scored six more in the second, and Strunk knocked down two 3-pointers, but Gatlinburg’s Houston Byrd scored eight of his game-high 18, and G-P was up 26-25 at halftime.
Logan Goodman hit two 3-pointers and scored eight of his 14 in the third quarter, while Strunk scored six more, but Kevin Burkett was even bigger for Gatlinburg, hitting three 3-pointers and scoring 11 of his 17 to help the home team build a three-point lead as the fourth quarter began.
But with West scoring six of his 11 in the fourth, the Highlanders were able to go on the run to snag the lead for good.
The win advanced Scott High to the semifinals of the Region 2-AA tournament, just one step shy of a substate bid. To get there, the Highlanders would have needed a win over Fulton in Tuesday’s semifinal game on the Falcons’ home court. The last time they played there, the Highlanders led throughout the first half, only to see Fulton turn it around at halftime and win by 10. Half of Scott High’s six losses this season have come to Fulton.
SCOTT (58): Morrow 17, Goodman 14, Strunk 12, West 11, Tucker 2, Storey 2.
GATLINBURG (57): Byrd 18, Burkett 17, Jones 10, Smith 6, Cole 4, Stinnett 2.