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Players of week Taylor, Blackmon key on guard-heavy squads

Maryville’s T.D. Blackmon goes to the basket against Heritage on Friday. Photos by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

There’s so much depth in backcourt you wonder if Maryville coach Mark Eldridge ever thinks of starting five guards. Just for the fun of it. Kind of a Fab Five thing.

It’s easy for a T.D. Blackmon to get lost in all the ball handling and shooting Easton Upchurch, Joe Anderson, Oakley Garrett, DaVon Kimble and Christian Markham are capable of on a given night — until you look at the numbers.

Blackmon and Lady Rebel sophomore Lindsay Taylor, the Barley’s/Blount Press Row Players of the Week, were key in big wins for their respective teams last week.

The Rebels retained their perch atop the District 4AAA standings with wins at Bearden and Heritage. Blackmon, a senior forward and football All-American linebacker, had 17 points, five boards, five assists and a pair of steals as Maryville (15-2, 7-1) stopped the Bulldogs, 64-60, on Tuesday in Knoxville.

Lindsay Taylor goes to the basket against Heritage's ? on Friday.

Lindsay Taylor goes to the basket against Heritage’s Emma Harig on Friday.

Friday, the Rebels edged the Mountaineers, 67-65, in a thriller won on a Jake Giles basket with four seconds remaining. Blackmon tossed in a team-best 19 points, adding three boards, four assists and four steals, including a critical theft in the closing minutes.

Taylor’s jumper from 10 feet in has improved noticeably this season. Eight points from the sophomore center was certainly helpful in Maryville’s 48-34 win at Heritage. Guard Courtney Carruthers knocked home a team-best 17 for the Lady Rebels, including a trio of treys, senior Olivia Pepperman adding 11 points.

Just as important was how Taylor helped Maryville get it done defensively, anchoring the back of a 2-3 zone that negated a formidable Heritage post game. On a night Heritage’s Maddie Sutton was honored for scoring 1,000 points over the course of her career, Taylor and the Lady Rebels held the athletic Lady Mountaineer senior scoreless.

“We knew she was really good, so we focused on her in practice and made sure we could find her,” Taylor said.

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