Lady Mountaineers looking to add inside game

Heritage guard Morgan Thomas finishes a Lady Mountaineer fast break.

Photo by Brandon Shinn

Heritage guard Morgan Thomas finishes a Lady Mountaineer fast break.

Heritage junior Lauren Burnett enters the 2008-09 as one of the district’s most dangerous shooters.

Photo by Brandon Shinn

Heritage junior Lauren Burnett enters the 2008-09 as one of the district’s most dangerous shooters.

Have you ever known a Heritage girls team that didn’t shoot the 3?

In only 10 minutes of play with rival Maryville at the Blount Today Basketball Jamboree on Monday, the Lady Mountaineers had four players knock one down from 3-point range, led by sweet-shooting junior Lauren Burnett.

Burnett also won the halftime 3-point contest, besting teammate Lindsey Strickland in a one-shot shoot-off after the pair of Lady Mountaineers fired tirelessly at the basket for two rounds.

Juniors Kaitlyn Newsome and Kat Morris also hit one from deep, all of which lends an ominous tone to Heritage coach Rick Howard’s hoped-for strategy this season.

“We’re going to do a little of that (shoot the 3),” he said, “but I think we can go inside a little more this year. It’s a lot easier to hit a 2-footer than it is a 19-footer.”

Howard said he’s counting on big minutes from senior Lanie Brimer, freshman Miranda Maples and Best around the basket this season. Brimer and Maples both with finished with two points in a hotly-contested quarter with the Lady Rebels, with Maryville taking the dress rehearsal, 21-20.

The Lady Mountaineers return one of the district’s top point guards in senior Morgan Thomas. The tough, quick lefty chipped in a bucket off the break to Heritage’s cause on Monday. Throw in the fact Thomas will be looking to find Burnett on many of her drives to the basket, and Howard likes his chances this winter.

“She (Burnett) has been there before and she can shoot the ball,” he said. “The way she goes is how we’re going to go.”

Heritage finished the regular-season district champions a year ago before being upset in the league tournament. Shooters like Burnett, Thomas, Strickland and rest provide plenty of firepower for another run. How far Best and Maples and can carry the Lady Mountaineers beneath the glass will say much about how that run finishes this winter.

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