When looking at the body of work compiled by Tianna Tarter, it’s hard to see anything but the best player in the area.
Helping Science Hill record 31 straight victories before a tough upset loss in the regional semifinals, the Lady Hilltoppers’ senior point guard was chosen Monday as the Johnson City Press All-Northeast Tennessee player of the year.
Joining Tarter on the 26th-annual first team were Elizabethton’s twins Kayla Marosites and Kelci Marosites, Science Hill’s Gabby Lyon, North Greene’s Mendy McNeese, and Volunteer’s Savannah Felgemacher.
Science Hill’s Keisha Gregory led the second team. She was joined by Johnson County’s Brooke Brown, Cloudland’s duo of Courtney Wilson and Courtney Clarke, and Happy Valley’s Mackenzie Blankenship.
Hampton’s Alexis Bowers got the nod as the defensive player of the year while Sullivan East’s Brandy Watkins was the pick as the most promising underclassman, edging Unicoi County’s Hannah Rice for the honor.
Elizabethton’s Len Dugger earned coach of the year honors for the second straight season. He guided the Lady Cyclones to the state tournament once again, and edged out North Greene’s James Buchanan and Sullivan East’s Allan Aubrey for the honor.
Tarter was a problem for opposing defenses for four years, but really turned up her offensive game this season. The 5-foot-6 Tarter averaged 19 points, 5.4 assists and 3.3 steals per game while also shooting 75 percent from the foul line.
In her career, she helped the Lady Hilltoppers record 137 wins — an all-time school record — and was a 1,500-point scorer.
Perhaps highlighting Tarter’s importance to the team and overall ability, Science Hill’s Region 1-AAA semifinal loss against Morristown West came without her in the lineup. She was suspended because of a quick-trigger double-technical levied by an official from the Knoxville area in a region quarterfinal victory over Seymour.
Kayla Marosites, a 5-9 sophomore guard, has helped her team reach the Class AA state tournament for the second straight year. She is averaging 17 points per game heading into Thursday’s state-quarterfinal contest against Livingston Academy.
Marosites also contributes seven rebounds and four steals per game while shooting 80 percent from the free throw line and averaging two 3-pointers with 40 percent shooting from behind the arc.
Lyon has been the post presence for the Lady Hilltoppers for three seasons. The 6-0 senior averaged 15 points, nine rebounds and even flashed top-notch passing skills with three assists per game.
Kelci Marosites upped her game this season, averaging 14 points and 1.5 treys per game with 35 percent shooting from behind the arc. Also, the 5-9 sophomore guard — who is Kayla’s twin sister — contributes 2.3 steals per game.
An ETSU signee, McNeese led North Greene back to the Class A state tournament. The Lady Huskies will play Wednesday against Jackson County. The 5-7 senior guard averages 17 points, six rebounds, five assists, and four steals per game.
Volunteer earned an impressive 26 wins this season, and Felgemacher was a big reason for it. The junior post averaged 16 points, 12 rebounds and two steals per game.
Gregory was still in a supporting role for the Lady ‘Toppers, but her contributions were often mighty. The 5-10 junior guard averaged 12 points and 3.2 steals per game, and also led Northeast Tennessee with 2.5 treys per contest.
As for Brown, she had to face the adversity of four starters leaving the team in midseason. Despite constant attention from defenses, the 5-7 senior guard averaged 16.9 points per game and finished her career with 1,325 points — the second-best in Johnson County history.
Cloudland got within a whisper of the state tournament, and Wilson was a big reason for it. The 5-10 senior averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds per game while also assisting with ballhandling duties despite playing the post position.
Wilson’s teammate, a 5-7 senior guard, kept the offense running at a high pace. Clarke averaged 13 points and dished out three assists per game, and had 27 points in the sectional loss to Meigs on Saturday.
As for Blankenship, the 5-5 senior guard helped her team push top-ranked Grainger deep into the fourth quarter in a region quarterfinal contest. Blankenship scored 19 points in that game, and finished her career as the Lady Warriors’ all-time leading scorer with over 1,500 points. She averaged 14 points per game this season.
Bowers led all of Northeast Tennessee with five steals per contest, and helped Hampton stay in the mix in the tough Watauga Valley Conference before the Lady Bulldogs were put out in the region quarterfinals.
Watkins missed the first 20 games of the season with a broken hand, but came back strong and helped East reach the Region 1-AA semifinals. The 5-7 sophomore point guard averaged four assists and three steals per game, and had a 27-point effort in the district semifinals.