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Eight Is Not Enough

Rebels weather wild Alcoa fourth to take Act I of rivalry
Maryville’s Tristan Upchurch looks to pass the ball around Alcoa’s Jaylen Myers (1) and Brenden Teeter. Photos by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

You could almost hear the voice from the old “Emergency!” television show ringing in your ears:

Alcoa's Jaylen Myers floats beneath the basket defended by Maryville's T.D. Blackmon.

Alcoa’s Jaylen Myers floats beneath the basket defended by Maryville’s T.D. Blackmon.

“Engine 51, Squad 51: Alcoa is on fire!”

The Tornadoes knocked down eight 3-pointers in the fourth quarter Friday night to stage a stirring rally against rival Maryville.

You can’t shoot free throws the way Alcoa did and win very often, though, and the visiting Rebels got a bucket from Dalton Price in the lane with 28 seconds remaining that proved decisive in a 55-53 victory.

The Tornadoes got off four shots in a mad scramble beneath the basket in the final 12 seconds. The intent had been to go for another 3 and the win, Alcoa coach Joel Kirk said.

“We got hot, hit three or four in a row; I thought, ‘Why not?’” he said. “We were going for the three. We got the ball in right where we didn’t want it to go.”

The Rebels quickly doubled Brenden Teeter right of the key, forcing the Tornado big man to put the ball on the floor and go to the basket for the tie.

Price pumped in 14 for the Rebels (7-2), including a quartet of 3s of his own, to lead all scorers. Sweet-shooting Mississippi transfer Easton Upchurch added 13, including a pair of treys.

T.D. Blackmon and Bryce Miller added eight each for Maryville, Upchurch’s brother, Tristan, five.

Garrett led three Tornadoes in double figures with 13, including three strikes from the arc, two of them in Alcoa’s wild, fourth quarter charge.

Garrett Anderson elevates into the lane against the Rebels' ?

Garrett Anderson elevates into the lane.

“When a team goes on a burst like that, it’s Maryville and Alcoa pride,” Rebel coach Mark Eldridge said, “Alcoa pride, Maryville pride. I think it was as much a matter of them looking over there and saying, ‘That’s Maryville,’ as anything.”

Larry Hodge, three fourth-quarter triples, finished with 12, adding a fourth 3-pointer earlier in the contest. Jaylen Mylers had 11 for Alcoa (2-8), including two 3s in the closing surge.

“We knew they would hit some threes,” Eldridge said, “but we wanted to stop their low post game.”

The Rebels get straight As in that department, with Ayden Gist totaling six points for the Tornadoes, Brenden Teeter four.

A close-run first quarter hinted at the eventual finish, Alcoa holding a 15-14 lead after the first eight minutes. Price buried all four of his 3s the first two quarters as Maryville went on to open a 26-20 lead at the half.

The Tornado woes at the free-throw line were telling by that point, Alcoa finishing the half 2-of-10 from the charity stripe, including the front end of a pair of one-and-ones. The Tornadoes were 2-of-13 from the line for the game.

Blackmon and Miller sparked a Maryville rush in the third, and the Rebels open a 42-39 lead to the start the fourth. That’s when the fun started.

With Alcoa trapping in half court, Maryville put up a couple of shots it probably didn’t need with a then 15-point advantage. Sparked by a pair of treys from Myers, Alcoa got terribly hot. Hodge hit three times in a two-minute sprint beginning with just under five to play.

The sight of Hodge excitedly high-stepping to the other end after each make soon had Anderson firing away, his second and final rip coming while falling out of bounds into the Alcoa student section.

That eighth fourth quarter trey pulled the Tornadoes even at 53-53 with 1:03 remaining. Alcoa went 0-for-3 from the foul line during burst, including another miss on the front end of a one-and-one.

Price got Maryville the lead back, for good, with a basket in heavy traffic.

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