Blount Press Row

Week ending Jan. 4

Click clicks; Pryor paces Heritage to district shocker

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Amber Click eyes the defense against West last week. Photo by Briley Wright

Amber Click led William Blount’s Lady Governors to a championship over the holidays and hit the district schedule still red hot.

Andrew Pryor’s big bucket late and following free throw legitimized Heritage as a district contender, the Mountaineers stunning Bearden, 44-41, on Friday in Knoxville. The loss was the first for the Bulldogs this season.

Untitled-2The Barley’s/Blount Press Row Players of the Week are sure turning up the heat in their respective District 4AAA races.

Listen at Click’s week.

The William Blount guard opened the Lenoir City Christmas tournament with a career-high 26 points, and the Lady Governors stopped McMinn Central, 65-57. Two days later, her 13 points led William Blount in a 65-62 upset of Oak Ridge and into the finals. Key to Click’s emergence this season is the way the Lady Governors are gathering force behind her. Hannah Fuller had 11 in the win over the Lady Wildcats, Maggie Bell a huge 3 in the last two minutes.

It’s all leading to some interesting numbers: more on that in a second.

Once in the finals, William Blount knew how to finish, a most valuable player performance from Click leading the Lady Governors to a 58-54 championship game win over the host Lady Panthers.

In the return to district play on Friday, Click pumped in 22 as William Blount won 75-47, at Knox West. It’s not only the district that should be mindful of how the Lady Governors can score. With its performances of late, William Blount now has the state’s sixth-best scoring offense, regardless of classification, at 66.2 points per game.

That means there’s more than just Click to worry about. When the district race hits the stretch run in February, look out.

Andrew Pryor pump fakes against William Blount earlier this season. Photo by Jolanda Jansma

Andrew Pryor pump fakes against William Blount earlier this season. Photo by Jolanda Jansma

It’s a bit of a misnomer to label Heritage’s win at Bearden an upset, a shocker or anything of the like. The Mountaineers are that good – and getting better.

Heritage fell, 45-39, to Station Camp at a Hixson holiday tournament, the Mountaineers leading late. The Bison are 15-2, with one of those Ls a 62-61 loss to Creek Wood. The Red Hawks are 14-0 and projected by many to win it all in Class AA come March. That’s pretty good company to be keeping.

Heritage fell, 51-47, to McCallie before exiting the King of the Smokies tournament at Pigeon Forge in late December. The Blue Tornado are 16-0 and a prohibitive favorite for a Division II championship two months from now in Murfreesboro.

Friday, the Mountaineers got Hunter Bailey back.

The slick, high-scoring forward was among the frontrunners for district player of the year last season. When Bailey went down with a knee injury in this year’s first game, Heritage was still a strong club, but …

“We were missing something,” Mountaineer coach Bill Duncan said. “Obviously, it was Hunter.”

Bailey had three points, three rebounds and two blocked shots in his return, just enough. Pryor’s team-best 14 points supplied much of the scoring needed. Converting an and-one free throw opportunity in the closing seconds, Pryor put Heritage ahead to stay, with Jake Long, 10 points, adding a pair of free tosses to ice it.

Heritage now sports the state’s third-best scoring defense, regardless of classification, at 41.6 points per game allowed, trailing only McKenzie (40.8) and Christian Brothers (41.1).

Still think it was a fluke?

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