William Blount advance after defense creates offense
By Grant Ramey | (email@example.com)
Todd Wright switched up his defense Wednesday night at Heritage and the results ended up being momentum on the offensive end, another round and another tournament.
No. 4 William Blount made one stop after another on the defensive end and got big plays from one player after another on the offensive end to run away with a come-from-behind 47-34 win over fifth-seeded Lenoir City in the District 4-AAA quarterfinal round.
“We just changed up defenses,” Wright, whose team outscored Lenoir City 21-6 in the fourth quarter, told The Daily Times. “It’s something we’ve been working on. We’ve been working on it for a week.
“(Lenoir City) wasn’t ready for it and it was the difference in the game. That was when we were able to pull away.”
William Blount (14-16) got 29 of its 47 points from its three starting guards, including a team-high 15 from Lindsey Roddy, 10 from Amber Click and 4 from Samantha Henry. Ami Hartline added 8.
“Just an outstanding job from those three starting guards,” Wright said. “They did a great job. Mikayla Combs and Katy Pyle came off the bench to give us some rest for those guards.”
The win advances the Lady Govs’ to the semifinal round and a matchup against top-seeded Farragut back at Heritage on Friday at 4:30 p.m.
It also guarantees WB a berth in the region tournament after clinching a top four finish in the district.
“Just so proud of all of them all the way down the line,” Wright said of his team. “It was a big win.”
The big win started with the defensive transformation in the fourth quarter, after the two teams went back and forth for the first three quarters, with neither capable of building a lead.
Not until WB stepped on defense.
“The way we were able to get some big stops, it gave us momentum, and it carried over to the offensive end,” Wright said.
“We had some kids step up big. Some kids that haven’t played a lot of minutes, and some that have played some minutes, some big minutes tonight.”
The Lady Govs entered the final eight minutes trailing 28-26, but went on separate runs of 8-0 and 7-0 to take the lead and eventually build a cushion.
“Coach (Joe) Lee came to me, my assistant, and he just does an awesome job, he suggested we think about it,” Wright said.
“So we had four or five practices to look at it and work on it. And the kids just did an awesome job.”
A bucket from Click tied it at 28-all to start the fourth before two free throws from both Hartline and Roddy. Another Click field goal capped the run and gave Heritage a 34-28 lead.
Combs and Hartline had back-to-back field goals after a pair of free throws from Lenoir City’s Teela Thomas. Roddy added four more free throws down the stretch to pad the lead.
“It’s amazing how much your defense affects your offense,” Wright said. “We’re getting stops, getting confidence on the defensive end and it just carries over to the offensive end.
“We’ve had problems this year when we don’t guard well, when teams score on us, then we have trouble scoring. One end of the floor affects the other. And tonight it affected it in a good way.”
What was the change on the defensive end exactly? Wright said that was a secret of the trade.
“Do I have to say?” he said with a laugh. “Can I keep secrets?”