Staying alive: Alcoa survives Austin-East to advance
By Grant Ramey | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
There was foul trouble and baskets waved off. Foul shots waved off and foul shots that didn’t happen. At one point, points were taken off the scoreboard.
But at the end of the night, Tonia Johnson and her Alcoa Lady Tornadoes basketball team are still alive in the region tournament.
Tara Shields scored a team-high 14 points and Katie Stubblefield added 12, leading second-seeded Alcoa to a 52-51 win over No. 3 Austin-East in the opening round of the Region 2-AA Tournament on Friday night at Alcoa.
“Through adversity, whether we do good things or bad things, it always feel good to hold on to a close one,” Johnson said, “especially during tournament time.”
Anjelique Hyatt led Austin-East (15-9) with a game-high 20 points and Jalen Harper added 17.
“They’re very athletic,” Johnson said. “Have tremendous players in (Harper) and (Hyatt). They go hard, they go fast, they crash the boards extremely well.”
Alcoa trailed 45-43 with just under three minutes left in regulation when Stubblefield appeared to make a layup while getting fouled, sending her to the line to finish the 3-point play.
The scoreboard read Alcoa 46, Austin-East 45, but officials waived off the bucket after determining the foul occurred on the floor, counting only the Stubblefield free throw.
“They said she took two shots (at the free throw line),” Johnson, whose team was in the double-bonus at the time, said, “but she only got one.”
Alcoa kept playing, though.
It was a 3-point play off another Stubblefield free throw, this time when Hannah Tate grabbed the offensive rebound off a Stubblefield miss with 2:40 left in the game and put it back for the bucket and the foul. She converted at the line, and this time the bucket counted, to put Alcoa up 47-45.
Tara Shields’ 3-pointer broke a 47-all tie with 1:35 left and put the momentum and the game squarely in the hands of the Lady T’s.
“Just game in and game out, just focused, absolutely focused,” Johnson said of Shields. “She does really well under pressure. That’s just another example.”
Tiffanie Moore, who played with foul trouble most of the night, made a free throw with 56 seconds left to make it 51-47 in favor of Alcoa.
It was Moore’s only point of the night. The senior guard sat most of the third quarter after picking up her third foul late in the second.
Three of Alcoa’s top four scorers were freshmen — Shields with 14, Hannah Troutt with 9 points and Jasmine McBrayer with 7.
“We had multiple players step up tonight,” Johnson said. “At any given time there were three freshmen on the court. Three freshmen, a sophomore and maybe a junior or a senior combination.
“We’ve got young quick because we got in foul trouble.”
Alcoa advances to face Gatlinburg-Pittman (25-6) Monday at Carter High School in the second round of the Region 2-AA Tournament.
G-P was a 66-51 winner over Stone Memorial on Friday.
Johnson said her team isn’t sweating the high-intensity playoff atmosphere of the region tournament.
“One of my freshmen phrased it very well today. She said, ‘This is so confusing, I have no idea what is going on.’
“So I think they’re just happy to be here and happy to live to play another day.”
Region 2-AA Tournament
Girls First Round at Alcoa
NO. 2 ALCOA 52, NO. 3 AUSTIN-EAST 51
A-E 12 15 14 12 — 51
A 14 17 11 10 — 52
AUSTIN-EAST (15-9): Anjelique Hyatt 20, Jalan Harper 17, Timeya Harris 8, Jamara Carvin 4, Lexus Hall 2.
ALCOA (20-10): Tara Shields 14, Katie Stubblefield 12, Hannah Troutt 9, Jasmine McBrayer 7, Kayla Newman 5, Hannah Tate 4, Tiffanie Moore 1.