One and done: Foul trouble leaves Maryville with early exit
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (email@example.com)
MURFREESBORO — Two out of three isn’t bad, it just wasn’t enough for Maryville in the quarterfinals of the Blue Cross Basketball Championships Thursday afternoon.
Siegel was the only Murfreesboro team still standing in MTSU’s Murphy Center after holding on for a 53-47 win in the last AAA quarterfinal of the tourney’s first day.
“We wanted to do three things — rebound, not turn it over and shoot it well,” Maryville coach Mark Eldridge said following the Rebels’ fourth state tournament game in his tenure. “We were one up on rebounds, we only turned it over 12 times. For us to be good we just didn’t shoot it well.” The Rebels (27-8) finished 16-for-54 from the field and 5-for-23 in the open plaza feel of the Murphy Center but stayed with Siegel most of the way despite fighting constant foul trouble.
Clark McCall drilled back-to-back 3-pointers for Maryville as time began to run down. John Garrett took a rebound end-to-end but the layup that would have cut it to 7 didn’t fall. Siegel (29-5) responded with a Damien Clark bucket the other way and maintained control the rest of the way.
“We went on just an ice-cold spurt midway through the second to the end of the third. We got some good looks we just made nothing. We haven’t gone through many of those this year but unfortunately today at a really bad time we didn’t make many,” Eldridge said.
“I don’t think it mattered what stage we were on. Siegel defended well but we got what we wanted and I’ll go down with the shots we did get. We’ve made those throughout the year.”
It was a valiant rally for the Rebels, who suffered an uncharacteristic cold stretch and then saw its starters head to the bench in succession with foul trouble. TJ Kimble managed 20 minutes on the floor before falling out. Bryan Landers got just 18. McCall and Garrett were each just one whistle from leaving as well.
“We were in foul trouble and one point in the third quarter you look up on the scoreboard and we have four guys out there with three fouls. Guys off the bench came in and we played with what we had,” Eldridge said after suffering his first state tourney loss at Maryville. “TJ has been our leader throughout the year. I think he missed five minutes of the second quarter and we maintained and the guys off the bench did well. We actually seemed to get energy when he came out the last time, the guys showed their grit and ability to compete.”
Maryville opened on a 10-3 run as Landers dropped in his only trey then made an old-fashion 3-point play converting the first of the Rebels’ three free throw attempts in the first half. The senior followed with a steal that turned into a deuce for Isaac Edmiston before Siegel took advantage of the Rebels suddenly cold shooting touch and took a 25-23 lead to half.
“We came in with mindset we can play with anybody,” John Garrett said. “That’s been our attitude all season.”
The Stars pulled away in the third and put a momentum draining 3-pointer in at the buzzer as Ryan Jones’ heave from half court went home without the polite call of ‘bank’ on the buzzer beater off the glass.
“Down 11, we’ve been there before. Down 9 to Powell, down at Sceince Hill, we’ve come back from that. That was a big momentum shot but down 11, at no point did I really think that we weren’t a couple shots from being right in it. The breaks of the game didn’t go our way. I’ve seen us go on a 12-0 run because we shoot is so well. Give Siegel credit they can say if we made more free throws it isn’t even close.”
Siegel ended up missing more free throws than Maryville attempted going 18-for-36 in the quarterfinal for 50 percent on a team-wide struggle that started out 1-for-6 during the Rebels opening run.
“Free-throw shooting is a concern for me every game,” Siegel coach Ben Dotson told The Daily Times. “Most of it was first game jitters. Hopefully we’ll settle down now to the electricity of the state tournament. The last three or four games we’ve been a great free-throw shooting team. You can’t simulate the atmosphere in practice. You can scream, blow your whistle, run them till they’re tired but you can’t simulate it the environment. We knew coming in that our key was how it was officiated, We’re and up-and-down tempo, Maryville took us out of that quick. I thought our guys did a great job getting past that hump and attacking a little bit then Maryville took us out of that too.”
Jones led all scorers with 20 and Charles Clark added 13 for the Stars. Damien Clark added a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Maryville got 18 from McCall but the 6-foot-4 senior was the only Rebel to reach double figures. Despite the loss, Eldridge was extremely proud of the effort his team gave on the big stage and the determination that carried Maryville there in the first place.
“I’ll look back at this game and say I’ve got a lot of great guys that have blessed my life,” the sixth-year Maryville head coach said.
Siegel advances to Friday’s semifinal against Dyer County as the lone representative hailing from host city Murfreesboro. Previously undefeated Blackman, which had inflicted 4-of-5 losses on Siegel, was upset by Brentwood.