Blount Press Row

Week Ending Jan. 17

Suddenly Sutton has Lady Mountaineers on the move; Markham clutch for Rebels

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Heritage junior Maddie Sutton (34) awaits the rebound during the game against William Blount earlier this season. Photo by Wallace Bowden

By Stefan Cooper
Editor
Blount Press Row

Basketball is a tournament sport, and Maddie Sutton has Heritage headed in the right direction.

Rebel sophomore Christian Markham brings the ball into front court against William Blount on Friday. Photo by Keith Driver

Rebel sophomore Christian Markham brings the ball into front court against William Blount on Friday. Photo by Keith Driver

Christian Markham came up big on back-to-back nights for Maryville, proving invaluable for the Rebels in holding onto the top spot in District 4AAA.

The Lady Mountaineer junior and Rebel sophomore are worthy winners both of Barley’s/Blount Press Row Player of the Week honors for the week ending Jan. 17.

Heritage is 1-6 in District 4AAA play with the season at the halfway point, but Sutton had the best performance of a post player in Blount County this season in back-to-back games with Lenoir City and Seymour on Friday and Saturday. Good post play is worth its weight in gold come postseason.

Sutton pumped in 23 points and raked off 14 rebounds in an impressive double-double against Lenoir City on Friday. The Lady Mountaineers fell short, 65-56, but it’s what Sutton did a night later that makes you wonder what Heritage could be like once we reach the district tournament.

In a 43-34 win at rival Seymour on Saturday, Sutton doubled down for the second night in a row, depositing 20 in the scoresheet to go with 15 caroms.

For current District 4AAA girls standings, please see: 4AAA girls.

After opening the week with a big win at Farragut on Tuesday, Maryville lost leading scorer and reigning district most valuable player Easton Unchurch to an ankle injury in practice on Wednesday. The junior shooting guard’s return date is uncertain.

Compounding matters, senior and team point guard Tristan Unchurch wouldn’t dress for visits from Alcoa and William Blount on Thursday and Friday, respectively, either.

Markham doubled at both point and shooting guard both nights, going for eight points and five assists in Thursday’s 77-66 win over the Tornadoes. He finished a cool 6-of-7 from the free-throw line.

One night later, he was even better, pacing the Rebels with a team-best 12 points, including three 3s, dishing four assists, in a hard-fought, 65-61 district win over the Governors.

For current District 4AAA boys standings, please see: 4AAA boys.

“Christian reminds me of John Garrett a couple of years ago,” Maryville coach Mark Eldridge said. “His basketball IQ is incredibly high.”

His jumper’s not bad, either.

Barleys

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