Lights shine bright on boys in second half
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (email@example.com)
The lights may have been a brighter or maybe it the just renovation at Heritage that made it all seem a bit brighter at the Blount County Basketball Jamboree Thursday night. The HHS gym got a summer face lift and it showed with a two-tone paint job and new wall mats behind the goals sporting a bright red with stylized power H logo.
“To me when I first got here it looked dark and negative,” said new HHS boy’s coach Bill Duncan. “The new paint opened the gym up visually and made it brighter. Then we designed the new mats and have got two new scorer’s tables coming. We’re trying to change a lot of things and we built the new dressing room and a video room as good as any D2 school out there. We’re trying to say we care about it and once you care about something they’ll bust their tail for it.”
But some of the lights may have been a bit too bright for the boys 10 minutes scrimmages that composed the second two quarters of the jamboree.
Alcoa and Maryville took to the court minus lots of key personnel, who were still involved with football practice for tonight’s second round playoff games, after the halftime contests. Heritage senior Jesse Huff won the slam dunk competition hitting both his tries with a toss up catch and reverse of the first and a 180 reverse along the baseline. Maryville’s Issac Edmiston and Bryan Landers gave it a go but couldn’t complete their first attempts off some creative bounces.
“In the dunk contest there were a lot of good intentions but not as much good mechanics on it,” Maryville coach Mark Eldridge said of the fun. “Our guys do that (dunk) sometimes after practice on their own, but not during practice, we don’t do that.”
REBELS 18, ALCOA 13
The bright lights were on a lot of young players for both squads with Alcoa missing eight of its top 10 rotation to football and Maryville sporting five of its expected 10-man rotation in the jamboree atmosphere where coaches typically get all the players in for a least a few minutes in front of the crowd,
“In the jamboree, players are real excited about it and they know they have two minutes so they try to do too much. It’s a good introduction to the season. That’s what we wanted and we accomplished it,” Eldridge said. “Jamboree’s are rarely ever pretty because you have 10 kids you‘re going to get in to play in just 10 minutes it is was it is as long as nobody gets hurt and we move to next week it’s a good night.”
Adrian Page drilled a trey for Maryville and Edmiston added driving maneuvers to get the Rebels out to a 11-7 lead as the next wave came in and junior Grant Wilson added four points over the final four minutes for Maryville.
“This was the first time the light were on for a bunch of them, I mean some of them didn’t even play freshman ball last year so I’m really pleased by how they competed. We had the opportunities to beat a team that’s going to be really good this year and has two or three of their starters out there so I was pretty pleased. We just have to go back to the drawing board on how we’re holding the fort down until the rest of our team shows up,” second-year Alcoa coach Tony Jones said. “I just wanted to see them compete, this was the first opportunity we’ve had to play against someone other than ourselves. I wanted to see if they would move the patterns and body up on screening, would they get back in transition and be physical on the defensive end. I think we were OK but we can get a lot better. If it plays out where our football team wins the state championship those guys will miss four games so these guys will have to hold down the fort for four games.”
Alcoa leaned on point guard Niko White for the scoring after the junior made a midcourt swipe and layup to break the ice on his way to an 8-point showing.
“Niko is the guy we look to step up right now, he’s the only one who played varsity last year and we look for him to be able to lead us not only by example but also guiding these younger guys and letting them know what they’re supposed to be doing out there,” Jones said.
Maryville opens the season Thursday with a Hall of Fame Game at Sequoyah while Alcoa hosts McMinn Central Tuesday in a Hall of Fame game where the Chargers have the edge thanks to Alcoa’s football team elimination of McMinn last week in the playoffs that puts two basketball starters off the gridiron and on the hardwood.
“We played McMinn Central and we beat them down there last year so they’ll have some added motivation,” Jones said. “It’s going to be a tough game for us to win. If we do some of the things we’re capable of doing we can stay in the game and who knows what will happen at the end.”
MOUNTAINEERS 11, GOVERNORS 8
The host team prevailed in a scrappy and physical final quarter for a jamboree with no season implications. After being tossed around a bit by WB, Heritage exchange student Luca Stosic showed just a bit of the international flair for jump shooting starting and capping the Mountaineer scoring in the quarter with knock down treys.
“Luca is a pretty good everything really, he’s just learning the American game,” Duncan said. “It’s wide open with standing zones. He has stood all his playing hours but once he really learns and understands the game he’s a real prospect.”
Sophomore Andrew Pryor did the rest of the damage for HHS in a scrimmage where there was only basket the first four minutes of play.
“I saw some understanding sparking a little bit so from where we are, I was happy to see that. We‘re learning how to pivot, how to body check, everything but it’s great. We’re teaching things three hours a day and they’re busting their tails to get it. I couldn’t be happier with the way this team works. A lot of people can’t get their players to work right, not here, these are hard working kids from hard working families. It’s a blessing to me as a coach.”
William Blount got 4 points from free-throw contest champion Jaden Bailey in the early going to lead 4-3 and Joel Graham added 4 in the final two minutes for the Govs.
“We’re very scrappy and not very big and we’re going to try to get after people a little bit and do what we can. We worked the ball pretty good and got a lot of guys touches. We didn’t make some shots early but I played the starters about four minutes tops and I was pleased with them. The young guys came in and did a good job. I say to myself two freshman and three sophomores out there and I was pleased of how they performed in front of a good crowd like this,” WB coach Kevin Windle told The Daily Times. “This is a great event to get the jerseys on and get the jitters out.”