It was just a glimpse, but at this point that’s enough to get everybody excited.
Eight Blount County basketball teams arrived at Alcoa High School for the annual jamboree on Tuesday night anxious to show how they have improved and what they have learned in the off-season and the bulk of preseason practice.
Each team showed there is plenty of reason to be positive as they make their final tune-ups ahead of the regular season beginning next week.
Tuesday’s format was four 10-minute quarters with a halftime that featured a free-throw contest, a 3-point contest and a dunk contest. Each team played one quarter with Heritage facing Alcoa in boys and girls and William Blount facing Maryville.
The fourth quarter, which featured the boys scrimmage between Maryville and William Blount, was the most competitive.
William Blount started hot thanks to three 3-pointers by Cameron George. His third triple gave the Governors an 11-4 lead in the first five minutes.
Led by Furman pledge Joe Anderson, Maryville stormed back and won 22-17. The Rebels looked like their usual selves with the drive-and-dish game, and they rebounded well up and down the lineup.
Anderson finished with nine points in eight minutes before asking out of the game. His teammates took over and finished off the victory. Joseph Burroughs had three points, three rebounds and one assist, and Terrance Dorsey made one 3-pointer.
“I liked what we had,” Maryville coach Mark Eldridge said. “I like our squad and the way we play together. We’re going to share the ball. Of course you have maybe the best point guard from Nashville to East Tennessee. That makes you go.”
It was not surprising to William Blount coach Kevin Windle that George led the way. George looked confident while taking his long-distance shots. The Governors’ only returning starter will be leaned on heavily early in the season.
Caleb Linginfelter had five points and three rebounds, and Tanner Pratts got three rebounds.
“I saw some good ball movement, some good offensive movement as well,” Windle said. “We shot the ball fairly well early. I liked our defensive intensity. We had some breakdowns that we need to work on, but it’s good to see it.
“That’s why this is good. It’s good to see it in a game situation and not just in a scrimmage or against each other. It gets magnified to where you can see the issues you need to work on.”
Here is look at the details of the other three quarters and the halftime contests:
Alcoa girls 13, Heritage 8
Alcoa’s defense was so strong Heritage didn’t score for the first seven minutes.
Eden Davis made a 3-pointer to end the shutout, and freshman Kinsi Carnes scored five points and got three rebounds after that to keep it close.
Alcoa never surrendered the lead, though, and got contributions from plenty of bench players. The Lady Tornadoes got five points from freshman Sydney Worde, and senior Ryley Grindstaff had three points and two rebounds.
McKenzie Wilburn made a 3-pointer, and freshman point guard Karli Haworth had two assists. The Lady Tornadoes played without returning leading scorer Destiny Haworth because of an injury she said is not expected to keep her out of action long.
Maryville girls 15, William Blount 8
William Blount came out in a 2-3 zone, and Maryville responded in grand fashion.
The Lady Rebels used good ball movement to find open shooters, and three of them – Aaliyah Vananda, Gracie Midkiff and Grayson Patterson – made 3-pointers.
Fresh off Maryville’s state semifinalist soccer team, Patterson led the Lady Rebels with five points. Maryville coasted despite the fact Denae Fritz – one of East Tennessee’s top players — was limited to two points.
McKenna Myers led the Lady Governors with four points, and Rhiannon Spikes had two points and two rebounds.
Destiny Haworth didn’t want to risk further injury by playing in the scrimmage, but she is not injured so badly that she couldn’t compete in the 3-point contest. She didn’t disappoint either.
Haworth defeated Maryville’s Gracie Midkiff in the finals and made 19 of 30 3-pointers throughout the competition.
Already known as a great shooter, Haworth said an off-season in which coach David Baumann challenged her and her teammates to make 10,000 3-pointers could set her up for a stronger senior season.
“Our whole team has been in the gym working on it for literally hours at a time,” she said. “That has helped a lot.”
William Blount’s Marshall Cooper won the boys 3-point contest, and George won the dunk contest.
Alcoa’s Nate Marsh won the boys free-throw contest, and Maryville’s Taylor West won the girls.
Alcoa boys 25, Heritage 14
Heritage started strong, but Alcoa eventually got its offense going and pulled away.
Nick Roberts, and T.J. Martin scored six points apiece to lead Alcoa. Taishawn Cates added three points and seven rebounds.
Kobe Johnson and Parker Rothery each made one 3-pointer for the Mountaineers.