Blount Press Row

Pepperman Hits 1,000

Lady Rebel senior reaches milestone with fourth-quarter burst

Maryville’s Olivia Pepperman receives a congratulatory fist bump from Lady Rebel coach Scott West on Friday. Photos by Wallace Bowden

By Stefan Cooper
Editor
Blount Press Row

First Courtney Carruthers, then Abbie Anderson, then Lindsay Taylor, then Taylor West …

It was only right Olivia Pepperman finish it for Maryville on Friday.

Pepperman is the third Blount Countian to join the 1,000-point club this season, joining Maryville's Easton Upchurch and Heritage's Maddie Sutton.

Pepperman is the third Blount Countian to join the 1,000-point club this season, joining Maryville’s Easton Upchurch and Heritage’s Maddie Sutton.

The Maryville senior and Barley’s/Blount Press Row Player of the Week overcame foul trouble to pump in 11 fourth-quarter points as the Lady Rebels beat William Blount for the first time dating back two seasons, 63-49, at James Campbell Gymnasium.

Pepperman’s closing flourish carried the Trevecca Nazarene signee over 1,000 points for a career.

The contest shook the District 4AAA standings with a week to play, but the Lady Rebels did more than just improve their positioning for next week’s 4AAA tournament at Hardin Valley with Friday’s win. Maryville looked a team realizing its potential at just the right time.

“We handled (William Blount’s full-court) pressure well the last time we played them,” Lady Rebel coach Scott West said. “We just didn’t finish. Tonight, we finished.”

Carruthers pumped in a 3 for the game’s first basket, and the Lady Rebels and Lady Governors set off on a high-speed first quarter that saw Lexi Campos close it with bomb from the right side, William Blount out front, 20-19, after one.

Carruthers, a sophomore guard, had 12 of her game-high 19 points the first eight minutes. Senior Anna Ray added a 3, Anderson, five assists, handling much of the distribution for Maryville. Entering 12 points shy of 1,000, Pepperman had four.

Courtney Carruthers has emerged as one of the district's top scoring threats this season.

Courtney Carruthers has emerged as one of the district’s top scoring threats this season.

Pepperman and Anderson were quickly in foul trouble, though. Anderson collected her third with four minutes to play in the half, Pepperman her fourth with six minutes to play in the third.

Carruthers, Taylor, 10 points, nine boards, and Taylor West not only kept William Blount at bay. They kicked it up a notch.

West got so clutch it was decisive.

The coach’s daughter was fouled on a 3 falling into the Lady Governor bench with 57 seconds to play in the half. The following free-throw and four-point play opened the Maryville lead to 35-24.

With five seconds left, she found the mark for three more and a 39-28 lead at the break.

When William Blount rallied close one last time at 46-38 with less than a minute to play in the third, West — once more with feeling — stymied the push.

Taylor West dropped a trio of memorable 3s on Friday.

Taylor West dropped a trio of memorable 3s.

“I know they’ll find me when I’m open,” she said. “I just have to keep my feet set.”

“They knocked them down,” William Blount coach Todd Wright said. “If they’re making shots like that, they’re as good or better than anybody in our district.”

Equally key was Carruthers, West, Ray, Anderson and freshman Katie Cunningham stepping it up defensively on the perimeter.

“When we had it down to eight or nine, we tried to run a set for Lexi for another 3,” Wright said, “and she couldn’t get open.”

The stage set, Pepperman went in pursuit of 1,000 the last eight minutes like she meant it.

“I was pretty frustrated,” she said, “but the coaching staff helped me regain my focus. I knew what I needed to do.”

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