Blount Press Row

Time to Huddle Up

Free-throw shooting proves Lady Governor undoing in district title game
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William Blount senior Mikayla Combs, kneeling, huddles the Lady Governors at center court prior to Monday’s district championship game. Photo by Brandon Shinn

By Stefan Cooper
Editor
Blount Press Row

Knoxville — The district’s top two teams this season delivered a fitting finale Monday night.

Bearden hit its free throws; William Blount didn’t.

Taylor Goforth goes to the basket.

Taylor Goforth goes to the basket. Photo by Wallace Bowden

As with most big games, that proved the difference, the Lady Bulldogs rallying in the fourth quarter to overtake the Lady Governors, 58-53, in the District 4AAA Tournament championship game at West High School.

William Blount (22-9) next hosts Powell (15-14) in a Region 2AAA quarterfinal on Friday at 7 p.m.

The highest surviving District 4AAA seed from Friday’s quarterfinal games will host the region semifinals and finals beginning Monday.

Both the Lady Governors and Lady Bulldogs played to their strengths on Monday. William Blount got big nights from the guard tandem of Lindsey Roddy, 16 points and a 3, and Lexi Campos, 14 and three bombs.

The thing that’s made William Blount a matchup nightmare all season was there as well, Hannah Fuller’s early 3 priming an outburst that saw six Lady Governors — Summer Morris, Mikayla Combs, Abbey McGuire, Campos and Roddy — hit at least one trey in the contest.

William Blount’s undoing was a 4-for-15 night from the free-throw line. Bearden, which got a game-high 17 points from tournament most valuable player Trinity Lee, was 10-of-15 from the stripe, including 4-of-6 down the stretch.

“I thought we played hard,” Lady Governor coach Todd Wright said. “I thought we played with a lot of intensity. I thought we played with a lot of effort. We just didn’t make free throws.”

Chandler Greer joined Lee in double figures with 12 points, with Anajae Stephney adding nine.

Lindsey Roddy puts up a runner in the lane.

Lindsey Roddy puts up a runner in the lane. Photo by Brandon Shinn

The Lady Governors got the up-and-down game they wanted, a pressing, running, 3-point-shooting attack that produced a 24-20 lead at the half. A Roddy free toss put the William Blount lead at 38-28 with 3:53 to play in the third. The Lady Bulldogs, hands on hips during the sequence, were reeling.

Just as quickly, back Bearden came.

“I think William Blount is a very good team,” Bearden coach Justin Underwood said. “They did what they do so well for three quarters of the game. We just had to stay with what we do well. We had to get some stops, and we were fortunate enough to hit our free throws.”

Tytiaira Spikes’ old-fashioned three-point play sparked a surge that brought  the Lady Bulldogs back within 43-38 to start the fourth.

William Blount held its last lead at 48-47 on a Roddy bucket in the lane with five minutes left. Stepheny put Bearden ahead to stay, 49-48, at the four-minute mark.

“These girls are resilient,” Wright said. “They’ll bounce  back.”

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