Blount Press Row

Week ending Jan. 11

Anderson antes up for Alcoa; Price is right for Rebels
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Alcoa’s Cassidy Anderson gets to the basket against Maryville earlier this season. Photos by Jolanda Jansma

Dalton Price elevates against Austin-East during a Christmas tournament at Maryville.

Maryville’s Dalton Price elevates against Austin-East over the holidays.

Cassidy Anderson led Alcoa to an unbeaten week and a firmer foothold atop the district standings. In front of the biggest crowd to watch a basketball game in Blount County this season, Maryville’s Dalton Price was the show.

The Barley’s/Blount Press Row Players of the Week really got it done as their respective district schedules hit the January push.Untitled-2

Alcoa opened the week with a non-conference 46-43 win at Webb. Anderson finished with nine points. What she did on the boards for the week would count for much more. Alcoa (9-9, 3-0 District 4AA) slipped into the driver’s seat in the league standings with a 45-36 win over Christian Academy of Knoxville on Friday. The victory followed a 46-41 district win at Catholic.

The Lady Tornadoes concluded a full week with a 41-39 win at Stone Memorial on Saturday, Alcoa running its current win streak to four straight.

Anderson finished with 10 points both times in the wins over Christian Academy and Stone Memorial. More importantly, the Lady Tornado guard grabbed 14 rebounds over her last three games.

Tara Shields and Hannah Troutt continue to provide Alcoa with consistent scoring. Katie Bean, five blocks against the Lady Warriors, continues to come on in the post. Sophomore Riley Hicks is fast becoming a point guard you’re going to be hearing a lot about. Anderson’s overall play is the kind of thing that makes a team stick.

Friday’s Heritage/Maryville clash at James Campbell Gymnasium was billed as a must-see. In front of a packed house, the Mountaineers and Rebels didn’t disappoint, Maryville getting a huge night from Price en route to a 45-37 win. Price, earning his second player of the week selection this season, was killing it.

The Rebel guard was 5-for-5 from 3-point range en route to finishing with a game-high 15 points. Sophomore backcourt mate Easton Upchurch added 12. In a contest that went to the closing seconds before being decided, Price was the difference.

Heritage (16-6, 4-3 District 4AAA) led, 9-2, with seconds to play in the opening period before Price buried a deep 3 from the right side at the horn. The Rebel sharpshooter hit three times from downtown in the second as Maryville (14-4, 6-1) caught up and went by to lead 23-17 at the half.

Arguably the game’s most telling moments came early in the third. Maryville coach Mark Eldridge had big man Bryce Miller extend to the 3-point line in the Rebels motion offense, taking Mountaineer center and shot blocker Keenan Berger with him. Maryville took immediate advantage, forward T.D. Blackmon getting to the basket on back-to-back and-one drives.

Maryville emerged from the spark with a 35-26 lead with seven minutes left. The Mountaineers, led by 11 each from Blake Ervin and Andrew Pryor, hurt their chances to close with 2-for-8 shooting from the free-throw line the last three minutes.

Heritage entered with the state’s third-best scoring defense at just over 41 points per game allowed. The Rebels, one back of frontrunner Bearden (19-1, 6-1) in the district race, held the Mountaineers without a field goal in the third quarter and only two for the second half.

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