Quickness, team play key for Lady Tornadoes

Alcoa’s Taylor Bellisle pushes the tempo at the jamboree.

Photo by Brandon Shinn

Alcoa’s Taylor Bellisle pushes the tempo at the jamboree.

Alischa Shiverdecker guards the basket for Alcoa against William Blount’s Sarah Wilson.

Photo by Brandon Shinn

Alischa Shiverdecker guards the basket for Alcoa against William Blount’s Sarah Wilson.

Takyah Gilmore has got some nice moves and quick hands in traffic. Alischa Shiverdecker has tons of speed and can score. Jelica Fuller can shoot it from deep.

Each of the three will play critical roles for an Alcoa team that will be without team leader Shericka Wilson this season.

Medical concerns forced last season’s top scorer to give up basketball. The Lady Tornadoes will miss not only Wilson’s scoring but her leadership as well, Alcoa coach Tonya Gay said.

Getting a lot of young talent to play within the system is the top priority at this point she said. The jamboree Monday night at Heritage was a realization of “here it is!” for many of them, Gay said.

“They’re going to have to score in numbers,” she said. “Even the older girls, they understand how young we are.”

Youth withstanding, the Lady Tornadoes had their moments in a fast-paced opening quarter with William Blount. A back-and-forth 10 minutes came to a heart-stopping finish when guard Taylor Bellisle was fouled on a drive to the basket as the horn sounded, the Lady Governors holding a 16-15 lead.

With no time on the clock, Bellisle missed on the first charity toss but calmly buried the second to knot the score. After a brief discussion, officials added a minute of extra time. William Blount would get a layup from freshman Sarah Wilson as time expired in overtime — the first-ever in a jamboree — to take the quarter, 18-16.

Gilmore displayed quickness and court vision in pacing the Lady Tornadoes for the quarter with 6 points. Her drives down the lane could open up a great many things for Alcoa over the course of the season.

Fuller drained a 3-pointer en route to finishing with four points, with Kylie Russell adding three. Elly Loy added two for the Lady Tornadoes. Tiffany Watkins had a huge block in the closing seconds, a change-of-possession play that would result moments later in the Bellisle tying free throw.

“Good things happen when you rotate,” Gay said.

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