Alcoa fights out of ‘sticky situation’
By Grant Ramey | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It had the hostile crowds. It had the late game dramatics. It even had overtime. It had everything that Maryville-Alcoa always has.
But when the Maryville and Alcoa girls renewed their rivalry on the hardwood at James C. Campbell Gymnasium at Maryville Friday night, Alcoa had a little bit more.
Tiffani Moore hit her third of three 3-point shots to open overtime, putting momentum back in favor of the Maroon and Aluminum and giving the Lady T’s just enough of a cushion to hang on for a 52-46 win to crash Maryville’s Senior Night.
“We talk a lot about playing in adverse situations, in adverse environments,” Alcoa coach Tonia Johnson said after the game. “I think this is a prime example of both — and they pulled themselves out of a sticky situation.”
Katie Stubblefield paced Alcoa (17-9) with a team-high 12 points, just ahead of Moore’s 11. Kayla Tillie led Maryville (15-12) with a game-high 19 points. Leila Bangash scored 16 for the Lady Rebels.
“Alcoa is a good team,” Maryville coach Scott West said. “There’s no shame in losing to them, I don’t care what classification they are.
“They’ve beat some really good teams, and that’s a team that’s going to go deep in the tournament.”
A Stubblefield 3 put Alcoa ahead, at 36-35, with just over two minutes left in a back-and-forth fourth quarter, but just as quickly the momentum swung back to Maryville on the other end of the floor.
Stubblefield stood tall to take a charge, but a driving Bangash came down on top of her, forcing the injured Stubblefield to leave the game after she was slow to get up.
Without Stubblefield, it was a pair of Alcoa free throws, from Kayla Newman and Hannah Trout, bracketing a Newman field goal in the final 90 seconds, setting Alcoa up with a 40-37 lead with just over 10 seconds left in regulation.
But Maryville’s inbound found a wide open Olivia Spears at the top of the key and she knocked down the game tying 3, her only points of the night, to send the game to overtime.
“We hit that 3 to send it to overtime,” West said, “and I thought, if we get one stop, we’d be in good shape.”
Maryville couldn’t get that stop, though — and it ended with Moore’s 3 to ultimately put the Lady Rebels away.
“We got the tip and had an empty possession,” West said of the overtime period. “We get a stop and then turn it over, with any pressure. And then we come back and they overload the one side and Tiffani gets loose. She had a great night.”
All Maryville could manage from there was a pair of free throws from Bangash and later Newman.
Stubblefield returned to play in overtime, padding the Alcoa lead with a layup in the closing seconds.
“She played much better down the stretch than the first part of the game, and especially in overtime, coming off of the injury,” Johnson said of Stubblefield. “She did a really good job.”
Bangash started a 10-0 Maryville run with a bucket to end the first quarter, giving the Lady Rebels a 10-9 lead that eventually grew to as much as 20-9.
But the Lady T’s responded with an 18-4 run of their own to take a 27-24 lead midway through the third quarter.
Johnson said she pointed to that run to get her team ready for overtime, after Spears’ last second 3 had stolen the momentum.
“It was like I told them, we had been in worst spots than a tie score,” the Alcoa coach said. “We had a dug a pretty deep hole for ourselves and had to search for a ladder to climb our way out, so a tie score wasn’t that bad.”
ALCOA 52, MARYVILLE 46
A 9 10 10 11 12 — 52
M 12 10 10 8 6 — 46
ALCOA (17-9): Katie Stubblefield 12, Tiffani Moore 11, Hannah Tate 9, Hannah Trout 8, Kayla Newman 8, Tara Shields 4.
MARYVILLE (15-12): Kalya Tillie 19, Leila Bangash 16, Paxton Robinette 6, Olivia Spears 3, Kat Pepperman 2.
3-POINTERS: Alcoa 5 (Moore 3, Stubblefield 2); Maryville 3 (Bangash 1, Spears 1, Pepperman 1).