Blount Press Row

Governors Ball

Is Friday’s breakthrough win the start of something big?

William Blount guard Will Combs readies to take the court during player introductions prior to Friday’s game with Maryville. The Governors defeated their rivals for the first time in eight years behind a solid defensive showing. Photos by Wallace Bowden.

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

The Jeremiah Murrell/Jordan Tarver backdoor was wonderful, old-school stuff. Loved the drive and dish from Isaiah Prats to Destin Deering, too.

There’s little question, though, it was Murrell’s sticky, up-on-him defense with Maryville sophomore star Joe Anderson that set the tone in William Blount’s breakthrough, 54-48 win over the Rebels on Friday.

“We were talking before the game about how you’ve got to believe you can beat them,” Tarver said.

Maryville entered the contest at the top of the District 4AAA standings behind frontrunner Bearden. Anderson, the Rebel point guard, directs a deep, experienced team clinical in both its execution and discipline. They just don’t turn it over.

Friday, William Blount, in knocking off Maryville for the first time in eight seasons, flipped the script.

“We average about eight turnovers a game,” Maryville coach Mark Eldridge said, “and tonight we had 17.”

It was never easy for the Governors. Anderson battled foul trouble throughout but still managed to join backcourt mate Christian Gale at the top of the Rebel scoresheet with 13 points each. Big man Jacob Giles pumped in 10.

Nine Governors made the box score, paced by 13 from guard Brett Boling. Tarver, a smooth-shooting swingman, had 12 and a big 3, with Deering adding 10 to counter Giles in the post.

That said, the biggest play of the night came from a player who tallied only a single trey.

Governor point guard Jeremiah Murrell looks for an opening around Maryville’s Joe Anderson on Friday.

Josh DeArmond’s primary assignment during stints relieving Murrell at the point was protecting against the Maryville break. During a sequence with four minutes remaining, the William Blount senior got back and drew a charging foul that sent the Governors — and their student section along with them — soaring.

William Blount was solid at the free-throw line in the closing minutes to hold the advantage.

“They (the Rebels) have ingrained winning over there,” said Governor assistant coach Micah Ballard, a guard on the last William Blount boys team to beat the Rebels during the 2010 district tournament. “We sat (the Governors) down and made them recognize we can play with them.”

The win not only ended pretty much anyone’s chances of catching Bearden for the regular-season district title before next month’s league tournament at Lenoir City. It made the Governors a team to be reckoned with come postseason.

William Blount didn’t just win. It won impressively.

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