Blount Press Row

Shields Shines In Finale

Lady Tornado becomes county’s fourth 1,000-point club member this season
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Alcoa junior Tara Shields receives a commemorative basketball from Lady Tornado coach Tonia Johnson after Shields reached 1,000 points for a career during Monday’s region quarterfinal game. Photo by Jolanda Jansma

It’s been some week for Blount County’s surviving high school basketball teams.

Tara Shields gets a tough shot to go against Union County's Madison Brantley as the halftime horn sounds. The bucket was the 1,000th point of the Lady Tornado junior's high school career.

Shields gets a tough shot to go against Union County’s Madison Brantley as the halftime horn sounds. The bucket was the 1,000th point of the Lady Tornado junior’s high school career.

Ice, snow and freezing rain have led to the cancellations and postponements difficult to imagine a week ago. Through it all, Alcoa’s Tara Shields, the Barley’s/Blount Press Row Player of the Week, managed to distinguish herself.

Untitled-2Christian Academy of Knoxville defeated Alcoa in last Friday’s District 4AA championship game, but Shields put up a 16-point effort in the loss, good enough for the junior guard to be named to the all-tournament team along with teammate Cassidy Anderson. Shields followed with an even bigger performance in a 58-57, region quarterfinal loss to Union County on Monday.

On a bittersweet night, Shields, on a contested shot in the lane as the halftime horn sounded, became the fourth Blount County girls player this season to reach 1,000 career points. The sweet shooting guard poured in 24 points on the strength of six 3-pointers for the game.

“She had just a phenomenal postseason run,” Alcoa coach Tonia Johnson said.

It’s what Shields did defensively in the closing seconds against Union that stood out.

With the Lady Tornadoes down, 57-53, with 33 seconds left, the crafty guard jumped in front of a Lady Patriots outlet pass for the steal. Fouled, she converted both free throws. Two seconds later, she stole the ball again. Again fouled, she again sank both free throws, tying things at 57-all.

Shields joins three others who reached the 1,000-point plateau this season, the list including Heritage’s Leah Thomas, Maryville’s Kayla Tillie and William Blount’s Amber Click. Thomas, Tillie and Click are seniors.

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