With sword and Shields: Lady T’s take double OT win over Loudon
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alcoa didn’t need the Avengers, the Lady T’s had their own agent of SHIELD.
Well, Shields anyway.
Tara Shields found the range every time Alcoa needed an answer against Loudon as Alcoa scrapped and battled for a 57-50 District 4-AA win in double overtime.
Shields dropped in the last of her team-high 20 to give Alcoa (8-5, 2-0 District 4-AA) a 52-50 lead. The 3-pointer from the deep left wing proved the game winner as the Lady Redskins ran out of gas in the second session of free basketball with starter Haylee Henry on the bench due to a fourth-quarter injury.
“Tara definitely pulled us out of some sticky situations,” Alcoa coach Tonia Johnson told The Daily Times. “She had laser focus.”
It was just the last Shields heroics — adding to the triple that bought Alcoa life in overtime and the one that almost won it when it swished home from way back for a 44-41 lead with 8 seconds left in regulation.
“I think they were all equally important,” Johnson said of the freshman’s five 3-pointers. “For her as a freshman to step in there and be so composed, and level-headed and not change her game. I don’t think any of the girls tried to change their game. They just stayed very level-headed at the end.”
Loudon’s Bre Snow answered with an equally clutch and long ball to beat the horn in answer to Shields to force the first overtime.
“We had about six seconds left, so we called that little set for her, we were trying to drive it right at them, hand it off and shoot,” Loudon coach Bryan Collins said. “She got the look and she’s the kind of shooter that can make it.”
The Lady T’s struggled to put it away — hitting 3-of-7 — at the foul line defending a 4-point margin but were aided by a 10-second call against Loudon for a backcourt violation without Henry to help bring it across the timeline.
Loudon (8-8, 0-2) got 22 from Snow, who finished with four treys including the bomb to force overtime, to compliment the 20 from sophomore forward Aspen Jordan.
“We have another one out with a concussion and we had to get deep into our bench at the end,” Collins said. “We’re a young team anyway and we had to use some players without a lot of ball handling experience. I’m proud of the way we played, to come to Alcoa and force them to double overtime. Even though we had some chances to win we’re going to get better as the year continues to go along.”
Alcoa went to break with a one-point edge after the Lady T’s defense disrupted Loudon’s attempt to run the clock down for the last shot. A bounding ball finally ended up with Jasmine McBrayer. The Alcoa freshman flipped it from her knees ahead to Tiffanie Moore for a driving move for the hoop in transition traffic to beat the buzzer and retake the lead, 19-18.
Jordan had a dozen at the half but failed to score in the third and picked up 8 the rest of the way as the Lady T’s compensated for their height disadvantage against the 6-foot-2 Lady Redskin by continually fronting the forward and rotating help frequently.
“We wanted to try and make it as difficult for her and put her in as many awkward situations and we managed it a few times but she’s very athletic and has great hands,” Johnson said. “I felt like we did a good job but we still have to learn how to be stronger and not let a big girl get comfortable down low.”
Even with that pressure, Jordan helped pull Loudon back from its biggest deficit of the night with back-to-back baskets in the paint to cut the AHS fourth quarter lead to 38-32. It sparked the Lady Redskins to knot the game at 41 after Shields dropped in her second 3-pointer.
“They did a good job double-teaming her. She hasn’t seen a lot of the physical side of high school play yet,” Collins said of his post. “Every time she sees it she gets a little better.”
Tornadoes 74, Loudon 61
Loudon controlled the first half and kept Alcoa at bay.
Then the bottom fell out.
The Tornadoes (7-6, 2-0 District 4-AA) went on a 22-1 run from the end of the second to the 2:59 mark in the third to take over and cruise to the district win. Loudon put up a single foul shot from Chris Chenault over a span of five minutes in the third as Alcoa ran off 20. By the time Andrew Hendrix dropped in the first Redskin field goal of the second half, Alcoa had turned an 8-point deficit into a 70-52 lead.
Kenny Dean paced 10 Maroon & Aluminum scorers with 15. Niko White added 13 and Malik Love 14. Loudon (8-8, 0-2) was led by Jordan Blevins 11 with Hendrix and Ty Haiuston adding 10 apiece.
Alcoa travels to Stone Memorial Friday for a key district game on both sides of the slate.