GATLINBURG -The West Greene boys saw their season end on Saturday night at the hands of the Gatlinburg Pittman Highlanders 86-66 in the quarterfinals of the Region 1-2A Tournament.
With the Buffs down a couple ofplayers they fought and scrapped to the very end against a much bigger and more physical team.
West Grenee coach Allen Tolliver said, “I thought we played hard, but rebounds killed us. They played hard to the finish, even when things got chippy, just overall proud of my guys.”
The Highlanders started off hot as Carlos Orr did most of the damage in the first quarter, inside and outside the arc. Orr hit back to back shot just inside the arc at the key to give the Landers a 6-2 early advantage. Orr then had a smooth spin move in the paint to inch the lead out to 13-8 followed by a power move underneath for another bucket and the Buffs had to call timeout to try to find an answer.
Coming out of the timeout Leyton Frye went coast to coast for a layup and Conner Campbell dropped a triple from the elbow to make the score 22-13 at the end of the first quarter.
As the second quarter started the two teams swapped buckets then both teams went on a scoreless streak. Frye found Austin Wampler at the elbow for a long two only to be answered by Orr.
Frye hit a free throw line jumper to keep the Landers' lead under 10, but with West Greene on the move Frye picked up his third foul just past the midway point of the quarter and had to take a seat. The Landers were having their way with the Buffs and coach Tolliver had to send Frye back into game with 2:34 remaining, but West Greene would had an uphill battle, now trailing 38-12.
The Highladners maintained that 17 point lead heading into the locker room at the half at 47-30.
Frye heated up in the third quarter and at one point cut the lead to 11 at 49-38 when he hit a pullup triple from the elbow in transition. The Landers also were heating up, led by Ty Glasper they were able to keep the Buffs at bay, leading 62-44 at the end of three quarters of play.
In the fourth quarter West Greene never made much of a run at the Highlanders but it became clear to both teams that Frye was closing in on the Greene County single season scoring record held by Greeneville's Ja’kobi Gillespie.
The Landers were just as determined to keep Frye from the record as Frye was to get it, and that’s when things got a little chippy. Frye went coast to coast for a layup and was knocked to the floor on the play. Frye was whistled for a technical for disputing the no-call but moments later he was on the move again for another layup.
Just before Frye knocked down a triple with under a minute to play to bring him within two points of the record Tolliver was hit with a technical for questioning a call and it looked as if he wouldn’t get another chance. The Buffs forced a turnover and Frye was fouled in transition with 10 seconds to play. He calmly hit both free throws to tie the record with 959 points on the season.
Frye said, “It’s amazing, coming into this season I didn't have any plans on breaking it or anything. To be able to share it with such a great player like Ja’kobi, a guy that plays D1 ball...it’s a special thing and to do it in my last game as a West Greene Buffalo, it makes it feel real special”.
The Buffaloes managed to put three players into double digits in a losing cause. Frye had 33 and Ethan Turner got his usual double-double scoring 12 points while Mason McCamey reached double digits with 10.
Frye 33, Turner 12, McCamey 10, Wampler 4, Campbell 5, Dearinger 2,
Orr 19, Glasper 23, DeSear 11, Whaley 15, Erozan 2, Whaley 5, Richardson4, Reese 2, Regan 5