Tarter rises above crowd for NET award

Douglas Fritz • Mar 6, 2013 at 3:51 AM

Sometimes it's not just about numbers, but rather overall impact.

Science Hill point guard Tianna Tarter stood out above the crowd this season and was chosen as the Johnson City Press All-Northeast Tennessee girls basketball player of the year Tuesday. Tarter and the Lady Hilltoppers are in Murfreesboro today as they begin a quest for the Class AAA state championship.

Joining Tarter on the first team was Cloudland's Miss Basketball finalist Brooke Rhodes, who was the player of the year last season but was edged for the honor this year by Tarter.

Also earning first-team honors were Science Hill's Gabby Lyon, Tennessee High's Ashlee Mitchell, Hampton's Dorothy Dugger and Elizabethton's Reazyn DeMoss.

Leading the way on the second team was North Greene standout Mendy McNeese. She was joined by Science Hill's Enjelica Reid and Shy Copney, Daniel Boone's Jenny Snyder, and Unicoi County's Emily Edwards.

Happy Valley guard Shalee Perry was selected as the defensive player of the year.

Elizabethton's terrific twins, Kayla Marosites and Kelci Marosites, were honored as the co-most promising underclassmen.

Elizabethton's Len Dugger was picked as the coach of the year. He edged Hampton's Leon Tolley for that honor.

Science Hill was a state-title threat from the opening tip of the season, and Tarter was a big reason why. The 5-6 junior is a nightmare for a defender to keep in front.

And when Tarter isn't getting into position to maintain her scoring average of 14 points per game, she is dishing out five assists and picking off 2.5 steals a contest.

Tarter is on the fast track to a big-time college deal, and has helped Science Hill post a record of 33-3 as it goes up against Bradley Central today at 2 p.m. (EDT) in the state quarterfinals.

Rhodes picked up where she left off last season, and that's why the Lady Highlanders are back in The 'Boro. The 6-2 senior post is averaging 18 points and 13 rebounds per game for a Cloudland team that got off to a 5-9 start before winning 18 of 20.

As for Lyon, she is the paint factor for the Hilltoppers. The 6-0 junior is scoring 12 points and grabbing six rebounds per contest, and helped Science Hill win conference, district and region titles.

Mitchell was an all-around threat for the Lady Vikings. The 5-5 senior averaged 17 points, five rebounds, four assists and 4.5 steals for a team that made it to within one game of the state tournament.

Hampton made it back to the state tournament even though Dugger suffered a late-season knee injury. The 5-7 senior led Northeast Tennessee in scoring with 20 points per game and also led in 3-pointers with 2.8 a contest.

Dugger, a 1,500-point scorer for her career, also averaged three assists per game.

As for DeMoss, she was helping Elizabethton to a banner season before senior teammate Morgan Depew was hurt. DeMoss, a 5-9 senior, took on a bigger role and eventually was chosen most valuable player of the Region 1-AA tournament.

DeMoss has averaged 12 points and eight rebounds per game while helping Elizabethton post a record of 28-4 as it heads into Thursday's Class AA state quarterfinal contest.

McNeese returned from a knee injury with a bang. The 5-6 junior averaged 16 points, four assists and three steals per game for the Huskies, who won 25 games and made it to the regional semifinals before getting clipped by Hampton.

Reid and Copney haven't put up big-time numbers scoring-wise, but have been part of a steady Science Hill attack that often leaves them on the bench late in the game because of wide victory margins.

Reid, a 5-9 senior, and Copney, a 5-10 senior, are each averaging 10 points and five rebounds per game.

Unicoi County had a good regular season, winning the Three Rivers Conference title and Edwards was a key reason for the success. The Lady Blue Devils stumbled in the postseason, but the 5-7 senior finished with solid averages of 17 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals per game.

Snyder was a solid post player for the Lady Trailblazers this season. The 5-11 senior helped Boone win 17 games by averaging 13 points and eight rebounds per contest.

Perry came on strong late in the season, helping Happy Valley reach the district championship game and the region semifinals. She averaged 3.2 steals per game while also using her quickness to total 14 points per contest.

The Marosites twins became very familiar across the basketball landscape once they moved into big minutes on the varsity. By the postseason, the 5-9 freshman duo was routinely combining for 20-30 points per game.

They certainly helped Dugger earn coach of the year honors. He has guided Elizabethton to the state tournament for the third time in five years despite losing two starters — including his point guard — and a key reserve to injuries.

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