There was more than bragging rights on the line when Maryville visited William Blount’s Marvin Boring Gymnasium last Friday.
The Governors and Rebels are both looking to avoid the Day 1 knockout round at next month’s district tournament, and there’s isn’t much time left. William Blount entered Friday in the fifth slot, with Maryville just back in sixth.
With the Rebels prevailing, 58-57, on freshman T.J. Kimble’s three-point play with seven seconds remaining, Maryville now holds the upper hand.
“We needed this one,” Rebel coach Mark Eldridge said.
There still some work to do, though - for both teams.
After visiting Hardin Valley on Thursday, the Rebels return home for a key league clash with Knox West on Friday. District foes Catholic, Lenoir City and Farragut loom the next three games before Maryville closes out the regular season at county rival Alcoa Feb. 11.
The Governors climb back in the district saddle when they visit Farragut on Friday. A finishing league flourish will see William Blount host top-ranked Bearden on Tuesday, concluding the district schedule at Heritage next Friday.
The Lady Rebels sit two games out front of the district field with regular-season play winding down, but, with junior shooting guard Alex Breazeale out indefinitely with an ankle injury, Bearden, Farragut and West can still close.
Junior Torie Vaught pumped in 18 points as Maryville fought off a surging Lady Governor team, 60-52, on Friday. More importantly, perhaps, sophomore Rebekah Singleton caught fire to knock home four consecutive 3-pointers, filling the void left behind by Breazeale’s absence.
Heritage’s Lady Mountaineers and the Lady Governors are out of contention for the league’s regular season crown at this point, but both are playing their best ball as postseason nears.
Lady Mountaineer senior Lauren Burnett has found her stroke of late. Lady Governor sophomore Tatum Burstrom is shooting the ball really, really well. At point guard, William Blount has one of the district’s most savvy players in sophomore Sarah Wilson. A slick floor leader and passer, Wilson is one of the area’s most underrated shooters, her all-court play rivaled perhaps only by Heritage senior Tracy Hardiman.
With Tuesday’s win at Loudon, Alcoa’s Tornadoes have positioned themselves for a run at the District 4AA title. The Redskins were unbeaten in league play before Alcoa rolled out of Loudon with a 63-60 win.
The Tornadoes have district showdowns with Stone Memorial, Loudon and Christian Academy of Knoxville remaining. Sweep, and there’s no guesswork involved. Stone Memorial, which edged Alcoa, 66-60, last week, comes to town for a pivotal matchup next weekend.
This weekend’s games
•Catholic at Heritage
•Maryville at Hardin Valley
•Alcoa at Fulton
•Knox West at Maryville
•William Blount at Farragut
•Oak Ridge at Maryville
•Maryville at Catholic
•Bearden at William Blount