East girls fall to Pigeon Forge | Sports

PIGEON FORGE — Paiton Whaley poured in 26 points Tuesday night to lead the host team past the Morristown East girls, 48-38, in the Pigeon Forge Christmas Tournament.

Whaley did most of her damage on free throws as she got herself to the line an incredible 21 times and fired in 16 of those. She also hit a very big three-point bucket late in the game when the Lady Hurricanes were trying to rally.

No other Lady Tiger scored more than six points as the winners improved to 5-9 for the season.

East, now 4-9 for the year, led only once with that coming at 14-13 early in the second quarter.

Harmony Sullivan led the Lady Hurricanes with a dozen points while Zoe Shelley and Ella Wampler added eight points apiece.

The Lady Hurricanes didn’t have the best of nights. They hit only 33.3 percent from the field (12 of 36), didn’t handle the ball well and were terrible at the free throw line, making just 9 of 20 attempts.

Whaley kept her team out front in the second half as she made the triple and connected on 12 free throws.

Even not playing very well, the Lady Hurricanes battled back to pull within three points when Hudson Cloninger capped a 7-0 run by sinking a free throw with 2:30 left in the game that got East within 40-36.

East then had two possessions with a chance to tie but couldn’t cash in on either of those. Whaley then bagged a long trey from the left wing with 1:40 left and Halle Hensley had a steal and layup to extend the margin to 45-37 with 1:22 left.

Wampler made a free throw for the Lady ‘Canes but Whaley cashed in 3 of 4 in the final 31 seconds.

First-year East coach Haylea Styles wasn’t happy with the play of her team. “We didn’t do a very good job tonight and it’s frustrating because we were coming off a pretty good game the night before.

“But we didn’t shoot the ball well at all,” she added. “We didn’t shoot it from the floor and 9 of 20 free throws is not good enough to win any ball games.”

Styles continued, “I thought Ella was working very hard inside to get open, but our guards couldn’t take care of the basketball long enough to get it inside.

“And there were times when we didn’t look like we knew what we were doing on defense no matter what set we were trying to run,” she said. “We’re not really a pressing team but we had to try to press tonight.”

The coach closed by saying, “We didn’t have a very good effort on offense or defense tonight. We have got to be more consistent with our play if we are going to win games.”

Pigeon Forge didn’t shoot very well either as the Lady Tigers were 14 of 33 for 42.4 percent including 3 of 9 behind the arc. The Lady ‘Canes finished 5 of 16 on three-point tries.

Wampler had six rebounds and Megan Winstead and Hailey Hall five each as East had a 34-31 backboard advantage. Lauren Powell grabbed 10 for the home team.

The Lady Tigers grabbed a quick 4-0 lead before baskets by Sullivan and Shelley tied the game. Whaley then made her first two free throws and hit an easy basket after a steal by a teammate.

It was a two-point game when Whaley knocked down a three with 57 seconds left for the final points of the first quarter.

Shelley and Sullivan fired through three-pointers to start the second quarter for East’s only lead before Moncier scored her only points of the night by converting a three-point play to put the Lady Tigers in front for good.

Whaley cashed in two more free throws and Powell grabbed a rebound and scored to make it 20-14.

But Shelley drained another three and Wampler scored inside before hitting a free throw that tied the score at 22-22 after Whaley scored for the winners.

Whaley had a steal and layup that barely beat the horn and the home team led by two at intermission.

Three more foul shots by Whaley started the third quarter but Sullivan scored six points to keep East close before three more free throws by Whaley upped the lead to 37-29 after three quarters.

Sullivan scored the first point of the fourth frame but Whaley made three more free throws and it was a 10-point game at 40-30.

East then had its 7-0 run as Chloe Slover hit two free throws and Hall added one. Cloninger popped in a three with 3:02 left and neither team scored until she hit the free throw that closed the lead to three and set the stage for the finish.

PIGEON FORGEI(48)—Kirkpatrick 3, Whaley 26, Powell 4, Hensley 6, Clabo 2, Blalock 2, Shults 2, Moncieer 3.

MORRISTOWN EAST(38)—Wampler 8, Sullivan 12, Cloninger 4, Winstead 3, Shelley 8, Hall 1, Slover 2.

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