Chipping at Stone: Tornadoes cap rally from 18 down
By Gabriel Garcia | (email@example.com)
When the Alcoa Tornadoes completed their comeback from 18 points down to deny Stone Memorial the season sweep, coach Tony Jones started the recap by calling it “a tale of two halves.”
And if the stunning 64-60 win against the District 4-AA leaders Tuesday at Alcoa High School and the resulting three-game winning streak in the district are any indication, the season could wind up being described the same way.
“To come back, we had to show some heart and some resiliency, and we had to want it more than they did,” Jones told The Daily Times after his team avenged the 99-71 loss it suffered on Jan. 11 at the Panthers’ place.
With a roster full of freshmen and sophomores, as well as football players, starting to get their basketball legs, Alcoa (11-10, 5-2 District 4-AA) is all of a sudden only one game behind the Panthers in the district standings and within contention for defending its district title.
“Hopefully we’re gelling at the right time to make a run at the district and the region and hopefully a state tournament run,” Jones said.
Down 35-20 heading into the locker room — and bombed by four treys from Stone Memorial’s Brock Rowan — the Tornadoes saw the margin increase by another three points after Luke Matthews’ triple to start the second half.
But the Tornadoes steadily chipped away, increasing their pressure on defense while Kenny Dean and Peyton Wall hit timely field goals and foul shots. By the end of the third, Stone Memorial (15-8, 6-1) say its lead shrink to eight points.
“After we came back out to warm up, I told the team to come here and I said, ‘We play lock-down defense in the second half, we’re going to win,’” Dean said.
With Alcoa down 56-46 early in the fourth, Dean dropped in the next seven points in the game, a trey chopping the margin to 56-53. After a Panther transition bucket, Wall drilled a 3-pointer of his own to close the Tornadoes to 58-56.
A Panther turnover later, Malik Love drove to the hoop to tie, then Wall stole the ball and rolled in another layup to give Alcoa the 60-58 lead. Wall’s perfect pass to Dean on the next possession stretched the lead to four.
“I was just feeling it tonight,” said Wall, the quarterback for the football team stepping up in familiar fashion.
Rowan cut Alcoa’s lead to 62-60 with free throws. The Tornadoes could not extend the lead after its ball-control possession, but after Stone took a timeout, Love stole the inbound and flipped the ball to a trailing Dean, who rolled the ball into the hoop to secure the victory and bring the home crowd to its feet.
“I knew the play was already going to be made,” Love said. “I could tell by looking at that coach ... and I went after the ball as soon as I saw the opening.”
Lady T’s 48, Stone 33
The Alcoa girls showed they can step up when one of their best players is saddled with foul trouble, helping them secure the season sweep of the Lady Panthers and keep their District 4-AA record spotless.
Carson-Newman signee Katie Stubblefield picked up her second foul seconds into the second quarter with the Lady Tornadoes (14-8, 7-0 Dist. 4-AA) nursing an 11-7 lead. But Cassidy Anderson nailed a trey, Kayla Newman drove to the hoop, Tara Shields sank a jumper from the foul line, and Hannah Troutt capped the key 9-0 run with a floater.
“I think our team does a really good job of playing together in multiple combinations,” Alcoa coach Tonia Johnson told The Daily Times. “It’s something we do every day in practice, and that was just an example of it. I’m very proud that they did that. They kept running transition, they kept looking for motion offense opportunities, and they executed it very well.”
The Lady Panthers (7-16, 1-6) did not go away, chipping away after halftime, forcing eight Alcoa turnovers in the third quarter and closing a 14-point margin to 6 by the end of that eight minutes.
But the Lady T’s shut the door on Stone, starting the fourth quarter with a 10-2 run fueled by a Shields 3-pointer and capped by a Newman slash to the bucket.
Despite sitting for much of the first half, Stubblefield still finished with 12 points, matching Newman for the team high. Shields tallied 11 and had three 3-pointers.
Alcoa’s basketball teams next travel to CAK on Friday to complete the home-and-away in the district.
TORNADOES 64, STONE MEMORIAL 60
SM 14 21 19 6 — 60
A 11 9 26 18 — 64
STONE MEMORIAL (15-8, 6-1): Gage Spence 10, Brock Rowan 22, Tyler Yoder 2, Matt Troino 5, Brandon Thomas 4, Justin Simmons 3, Luke Matthews 14)
ALCOA (11-10, 5-2): Peyton Wall 22, Kenny Dean 34, Nick Miller 4, Malik Love 2, Jordan Ferguson 2
3-POINTERS: Stone Memorial 8 (Gage Spence 1, Brock Rowan 5, Matt Troino 1, Luke Matthews 1); Alcoa 6 (Peyton Wall 4, Kenny Dean 2)
LADY T’S 48, STONE MEMORIAL 33
SM 7 5 15 6 — 33
A 11 13 9 15 — 48
STONE MEMORIAL (7-16, 1-6): Tiffany Cokkinins 2, Riley Hunt 2, Jordan Thompson 2, Jacki Livesay 3, Kirsten Potter 2, Faith Van Ruden 9, Abby Griffin 3, Courtney White 4, Makala Kington 6
ALCOA (14-7, 7-0): Katie Stubblefield 12, Tara Shields 11, Kayla Newman 12, Hannah Troutt 3, Cassidy Anderson 4, Madison Davis 2, Bailey Tipton 4
3-POINTERS: Stone Memorial 3 (Jacki Livesay 1, Faith Van Ruden 1, Abby Griffin 1); Alcoa 4 (Tara Shields 3, Cassidy Anderson 1)