Maryville’s first trip to the state tournament since the turn of the millennium will have to wait at least another year.
Morristown West hands were everywhere in the opening minutes, the Lady Trojans pulling away from the Lady Rebels with an early 11-0 run. When Maryville caught up three quarters later, foul trouble sealed the Lady Rebels’ fate in a 58-42 sectional loss to Morristown West on Saturday night.
The sectional berth was the first for Maryville (29-4) since 1999, the last time the Lady Rebels advanced to the state tournament.
Morristown West (32-1) forced 18 Maryville turnovers on the night, 10 of them Lady Trojan steals. The Lady Rebels would turn Morristown West over eight times. The Lady Trojans, who haven’t lost to an in-state opponent this season, collected their 25th consecutive home win with the victory.
Morristown West didn’t do anything defensively the Lady Rebels weren’t expecting, Maryville coach Kim Bledsoe said. It was in the execution where the Lady Trojans excelled, she said.
“They played great defense with great defensive position,” Bledsoe. “That’s one thing that makes this team so good.”
Senior point guard Carrie Goodson led the Lady Rebels on the night with 10 points, a significant fact considering a strong post game had proven Maryville’s calling card in rolling to district regular-season and tournament championships with only a single loss in league play.
The Lady Rebels were runners-up in region play, a 49-46 loss to Oak Ridge in the Region 2AAA championship game necessitating the trip to Morristown for substate.
Junior Torie Vaught and sophomore Miranda Maples were as dynamic as any duo gets much of this season. Vaught led the Lady Rebels in scoring on the year in being selected District 4AAA Player of the Year. Maples, an all-district selection, averaged 18.7 points per game over three games of the region tournament, including a career-high 29-point outburst in a semifinal win over William Blount.
Against Morristown West, Maples and Vaught were held to six points each.
The Lady Rebels got off to a tough start, the first quarter ending with the Lady Trojans holding a 19-4 lead. The long chase began, and, by the fourth quarter, Maryville had closed the gap, trimming the Morristown West lead to eight. Fouls collected during the rally then took their toll.
Goodson, Vaught and Maples all fouled out, and, without, Maryville couldn’t hold its momentum.
“We could have given up at halftime, and we chose not to do that,” Bledsoe said. “I was very proud of my kids for showing the guts and fortitude to step up and say, ‘Whatever happens, we’re going to try to make a game out it.’ That’s what we did.
“We had some chances and the shots didn’t fall, but it could have been a different ball game.”
Goodson was not only the only Lady Rebel to reached double figures, her leadership was instrumental in Maryville’s second-half charge.
“Carrie’s been a tremendous leader for us all year,” Bledsoe said. “She’s been our senior point guard, and I’ve asked her to step into a position that she’s probably not as comfortable with maybe, but she’s done a great job of leading us on the floor. She just stepped it up and did a great job in the second half.”
Guards Rebekah Singleton and Alex Breazeale added seven points each for Maryville, senior Kylie Whaley rounding out the scoring with six. The Lady Rebels shot 29 percent (14-of-47) on the night, hitting 3-of-17 from 3-point range.
Morristown West senior and Miss Basketball finalist Taylor Hall led all scorers with 16 points on the evening. Allison Jones added 15 for the Lady Trojans, with Kelly Smith scoring her 1000th career point en route to finishing with 12. Sidney Goins added 10.
Morristown West finished 17-of-47 from the field, 5-of-13 from behind the arch.
The Rebels find themselves in much the same place the Lady Trojans were a year ago. A painful sectional loss in 2009 sent Morristown into the 2009-2010 season a team on a mission. They had all five starters back.
Maryville will see four of five starters - Vaught, Maples, Breazeale and Singleton - return next season. Will Saturday’s loss do the same for the Lady Rebels?