Area basketball teams hitting stretch run

The high school basketball season is picking up speed.

Beginning with Heritage’s visit to rival Maryville on Friday, the games will not only matter more but come with some juicy matchups the next few weeks.

Maryville’s Lady Rebels have been putting their formidable front line of junior Torie Vaught and sophomore Miranda Maples to good use of late. To compensate, opponents have packed it in, freeing up guards Alex Breazeale and Carrie Goodson to take target practice from the perimeter.

Maryville (13-2, 5-1) enters Friday the District 4AAA leader after the Lady Mountaineers stunned previous frontrunner Bearden on Tuesday. Heritage (5-6, 2-5), paced by senior guards Lauren Burnett and Tracy Hardiman, is sure to come spoiling for a battle on Friday.

Next Thursday, Maryville welcomes Alcoa to James Campbell Gymnasium. The Rebels/Tornadoes clash should be especially saucy, with both teams looking to get well before next month’s district tournaments. Injury has forced both to adjust, with Alcoa (9-5, 1-1) losing point guard Logan Sharp to injury recently. Sophomore Hunter Ramsey looked up to the job as Sharp’s replacement as the Tornadoes rolled Seymour, 72-53, on Monday. The Rebels were without all-district forward Stian Romberg last week, the Maryville leader still recovering from an injury suffered in football.

Prior to the visit from the Alcoa, Maryville will host unbeaten district frontrunner Bearden on Tuesday.

Upcoming games

Alcoa: Friday vs. Kingston; Tuesday vs. Scott County

Heritage: Friday at Maryville

Maryville: Friday vs. Heritage; Tuesday vs. Bearden

William Blount: Friday vs. Lenoir City; Tuesday vs. Catholic

(Girls tipoff 6:30 p.m., with boys following)

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