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Tate That!

Alcoa center comes up big in key district win over CAK

Kayla Newman defends the perimeter for the Lady Tornadoes on Tuesday. Photos by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

Facing a truly biblical size disadvantage, Hannah Tate stood her ground.

Alcoa sophomore Hannah Tate defends Christian Academy's Cheyenne Hooper on Tuesday.

A signature win for the Alcoa girls’ basketball team followed partly as a consequence, the Lady Tornadoes delivering a perfect game on all fronts in a 42-32 win over Christian Academy of Knoxville on Tuesday night.

Alcoa hosts Maryville in an intra-county battle Thursday night at 6.

Katie Stubblefield has the ball knocked free in traffic.

Christian Academy sophomore Cheyenne Hooper stands 6-foot-6-inches tall. Tate, Alcoa’s best post defender, is listed at 5-6, and that may be stretching it a bit, she said.

Hooper didn’t tally a single point. Tate achieved the defensive feat by fronting Hooper as much as possible.

“We’re told to wrap around because we have help-side (defense) coming,” Tate said. “We work on it everyday.”

Alcoa, on the other hand, was almost clinical with its guard-heavy perimeter attack, Carson-Newman signee Katie Stubblefield pacing a balanced night offensively for the Lady Tornadoes (10-6, 4-0 District 4AAA) with 14 points and four rebounds.

“The focus in practice, especially yesterday, was to try to slow down and not get in a hurry,” Stubblefield said. “I know, personally, I never got in a rush or felt sketchy.”

Freshman sharpshooter Tara Shields pumped in three 3-pointers en route to finishing with nine points, with Tate adding eight.

Newman pushes the ball on the breakout with freshman Hannah Troutt in tow.

Floor leader Kayla Newman directed Alcoa with team-bests of eight rebounds and four assists to go with her five points. Freshman Hannah Troutt swished a big 3 near the end of the third to calm the Lady Tornadoes, going on to finish with five.

Anna Hammaker paced the Lady Warriors with 14, with Kaycee Heitzman adding 10 including a trey.

The Lady Tornadoes not only had Hooper to contend with. The Lady Warriors also had sophomore Kelsey Naler, 6-foot, to defend on anything around the basket.

“Patience, especially yesterday, has been the focus in practice,” Alcoa coach Tonia Johnson said. “The last couple of games, in crucial situations, we got in a big hurry. (Tuesday), it was just patience. ‘Let the gaps open up and let the game come to us.'”

A Christian Academy zone defense kept Alcoa on the perimeter for much of the opening half. Alcoa worked the ball patiently around the arc, taking only the wide-open 3 or uncontested drive.

“We were trying to run the clock,” Shields said. “We weren’t supposed to drive because we’d get packed. We only shot when there was no one around and we were supposed to be wide open.”

“We were told not to (drive) because she (Hooper) is 6-6,” Newman said. “It’s just not the smart thing to do. We get in trouble almost every game for rushing it and not taking our time.”

Hammaker’s slick floor game helped the Lady Warriors to a 12-10 lead after a quarter. Stubblefield and Shields opened the second quarter with back-to-back treys, sparking a run that forced Christian Academy to quit the zone with two minutes to play in the half. Tate sliced to the basket with a second to play to give the Lady Tornadoes a 23-16 lead at the break.

Tiffanie Moore celebrates the final seconds of a big win.

The Lady Warriors closed within 29-24 with three minutes to play in the third. Troutt buried a 3-pointer from the head of the circle to restart Alcoa’s engines and produce a 34-28 advantage to start the fourth.

“When we work as a team, we can stop anybody,” Troutt said.

In the final two minutes, the Lady Tornadoes could hardly have been better.

Up by 10, Tate collected a key offensive rebound to enable the Lady Tornadoes to continue to work the clock. Newman and Shields collected back-to-back steals with just over a minute to play.

Inside the final minute, Tiffanie Moore came away with steals on successive Christian Academy possessions, the senior guard clutching the basketball in front of the Alcoa bench to exhaust the final 10 seconds.




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