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Akard free throws seal Rebs/WB all-timer

Maryville’s Alex Akard warms up at James Campbell Gymnasium prior to a game earlier this season. Photo by Wallace Bowden

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

A big man who can shoot free throws in the clutch?

All. Day.

With No. 1-ranked William Blount forced to foul in the closing seconds, Maryville’s Alex Akard knocked down four straight at the line to keep the Rebels clear.

The 6-foot-8 center’s free throws capped a night that saw Maryville never trail in a 64-59 win at William Blount’s Marvin Boring Gymnasium on Friday.

The loss cost the Governors their No. 1 ranking, the first in school history for the program.

William Blount dropped three spots to No. 4 in the latest Associated Press Class 4A state basketball poll.

The Maryville win also tightens what’s beginning to look like a race to the wire in the District 4AAAA standings this season. Hardin Valley, 19-4, 4-1 in league play, currently holds the top spot, but the Hawks have a lot of company. The Governors (20-4, 4-2), Farragut Admirals (13-10, 3-2) and Rebels (14-7, 3-2) are all right there.

Hardin Valley sits sixth in the latest AP poll.

Matthew Clemmer enjoyed a nice return to his former school, the William Blount transfer putting up a team-best 16 points for the Rebels, including an early three. Freshman point guard Johnny Woodlee bagged 15 for Maryville with two bombs.

Senior Nick Johnson parlayed a hot stretch through the third quarter and early fourth to finish with 14, fellow senior Robbie Eldridge joining him in double figures with 11 and a trey as Maryville put up a balanced front to spring the upset.

Falling back by as many as 13 in the third, the Governors charged to close the frame. Super-quick big man Grady Robertson paced all scorers on the night with 23. On a night he was honored for becoming the school’s latest member in the 1,000-points club, Caden Windle joined his wingman in double figures with 10.

Should be some stretch run.

The Rebels host the Governors on Feb. 3.

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