Blount Press Row

Set ’Em Up, Joe

Anderson drive-and-dish, Giles bucket lifts Rebels

Maryville freshman Joe Anderson dribbles down the seconds while defended by Heritage’s Calvin Keeble on Friday. Photos by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

Mark Eldridge didn’t even take a timeout.

Joe Anderson is that good.

After signaling the play, the Maryville coach let his freshman point guard do his thing, Anderson beating a defender off the dribble to reach the lane before flicking a soft pass to Jake Giles for the layup and a 67-65 win on Friday at Heritage.

“It was sort of Joe creating and me benefiting from that,” Giles said. “When my guy went to help, (Anderson) tossed it down to me.”

Heritage sharpshooter Calvin Keeble lost his footing advancing the ball into front court following the Giles’ bucket with four seconds remaining. A resulting Mountaineer heave at the horn sailed long.

“Most of the time, when I have good guards, I’m not going to call a timeout,” Eldridge said. “(The opposing coaching staff) might change something. I thought with Joe or T.D. or Easton handling, we were going to get something pretty good.”

It’s probably not a bad thing for the Rebels (15-2, 7-1 District 4AAA) Keeble slipped. The Heritage senior bombed his rivals for a game-high 28 points in a remarkable display of long-range shooting.

Keeble puts on the brakes as Maryville's DaVon Kimble speeds past.

Keeble puts on the brakes as Maryville’s DaVon Kimble speeds past.

He had 14 — on 6-of-7 shooting — in the first quarter.

Brandon Davis had a big night for the Mountaineers (12-12, 1-8) in the post with 16, guard Luke Burnett knocking down three 3-pointers en route to 15. Keeble also hit three times from deep.

T.D. Blackmon’s 19 points paced a balanced night for Maryville, playing without center Spencer Lowe, injured in Tuesday’s win at Bearden. Anderson followed with 15 and a couple of treys, Easton Upchurch 11 and backcourt mate Oakley Garrett seven.

“That was a really good game,” Heritage interim coach Neal Leatherwood said. “The kids played their hearts out. I told them, ‘You’ve got to take this and continue to keep your heads held high.”

If you’ve never seen Keeble play, you’re missing a pure shooter of the rarest quality. The Rebels simply could do nothing with him the first eight minutes.

The Rebels' Easton Upchurch elevates and kicks while defended by Heritage's J.P. Pearson.

The Rebels’ Easton Upchurch elevates and kicks while defended by Heritage’s J.P. Pearson.

In the second quarter, Eldridge assigned junior Christian Markham to chase Keeble off picks. (Editor: Watch closely the last 30 seconds of the accompanying video.)

The move turned the tide in a big way, the Heritage bomber going scoreless from the field until his next basket with seconds to play in the third.

“He’s a great shooter,” Markham said. “If he can get the ball, there’s a good chance he’s going to score. You’ve got to make sure you follow him everywhere.”

The game’s final minute produced some of the best basketball in Blount County this season. Working tirelessly to get open, Keeble finally got the feed from Andrew Wilburn for a catch-and-shoot 3 with 30 seconds remaining.

He banked it in. From 20 feet!

On the ensuing possession, Anderson held the ball out front until the clock hit 10 seconds before making his move to the lane.

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