It’s only the jamboree, but it’s still clutch.
Freshman Sarah Wilson drove the length of the floor for a layup as time expired, and William Blount prevailed, 18-16, over Alcoa in the first-ever overtime session in the annual season tipoff for area high school basketball teams Monday night at Heritage.
“It’s going to be fun the next four years,” William Blount coach Matt Fowler said.
Wilson knocked down a 3-pointer to go with her game-winning basket, with fellow freshman Tatum Burstrom also connecting on a trey en route to finishing with six points. Katie Wheeler, yet another Lady Governor newcomer, finished with four points.
The youth movement will play a big role for a William Blount team looking to rebound from a disappointing season a year ago. Wilson, a savvy point guard, and Burstrom a pure shooter, form a potentially potent tandem. William Blount has been awaiting their arrival on the high school scene for some time.
“It’s going to be baby steps,” Fowler said. “It’s going to be up and down. We’re going to look great at times. We’re going to look bad at times. They’re just going to have to get used to playing hard ever night.”
Playing in front of a high school crowd was quite a bit different, Burstrom said.
“You get nervous at first,” she said, “but you get used to it.”
When she received an inbounds pass after a timeout with six seconds to play, a pair of Lady Tornadoes rushing toward her, there was little time for nerves, Wilson said.
“I saw them coming,” she said, “so I just took off: ‘Gotta go!’”
William Blount went 14-8 on the summer team camp circuit, a far cry from a year ago when the Lady Governors could manage only a single victory. That’s why any victory, even a quarter of play in the jamboree, is a step in the right direction, Fowler said.
The Lady Governor coach said he’s counting on seniors Ashley McInnis and Christine Conner and junior Kaylee Costner to hold a decidedly young team together until it catches up to the high school game. If it does by postseason, William Blount girls basketball could be back in a big way.