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FMS boys hang on to nip Karns, stay unbeaten

Having to make big plays to protect the slimmest of margins in the final moments of the game, the Farragut Middle School boys basketball team passed a stiff test and remained unbeaten.

Pesky Karns pushed Farragut to the limit before the Admirals held on for a 39-36 victory at FMS Monday that improves their perfect record to 8-0.

Perhaps the play of the game came with less than a minute to play and Farragut barely ahead, 37-36. Following a Karns basket, the Admirals beat full-court pressure and set up their offense.

But instead of waiting for Karns to foul, Farragut ran a beautiful backdoor cut play for an easy basket.

FMS big-man Jeff Jameson took a high post feed before directing a perfect bounce pass to guard Tyler Hill breaking to the basket. Hill was wide open, and his lay-up with 32 seconds to play made it 39-36.

Karns got off four three-point shot attempts in the closing seconds but were unable to find the bottom of the basket as the final horn sounded. A handful of FMS students joined a happy and relieved group of players at midcourt for a short post-game celebration.

“We told ’em coming in ‘this was going to be a tough one,’” FMS head coach Randy Swartzentruber said. “Then at halftime we’re only up one (14-13), that’s as close as anybody’s been all season. I said, ‘we’ll find out where we are in the second half.’ ”

Behind five first-quarter points from Andrew Martland and four more from Ty Canan, the Admirals jumped ahead 11-6 before cooling off dramatically.

Taking advantage of Admiral turnovers late in the second quarter and early in the third, Karns built a 20-17 lead before a huge steal from point guard Esean Phillips seemed to shift the momentum back to FMS.

Hill’s steal and fast break lay-up followed by Jameson’s rebound basket and a three-pointer from Phillips capped a 10-2 Farragut run to put the Admirals ahead 27-22 late in the third quarter.

A pair of Zach Allen free throws with 4:10 left in the game made it 33-27 FMS, but Karns rallied to cut the Farragut edge to 35-34 with 1:25 to play.

A KMS steal gave the visitors a chance to go ahead near the one-minute mark, but Karns misfired on a shot and Martland raked down a huge rebound.

Farragut scored quickly on Matt Neuhart’s lay-up with 1:11 to play making it 37-34. All of Neuhart’s six points came in the fourth quarter.

Hill, who pumped in seven huge points in the third quarter to help FMS reestablish momentum, led the winners with nine points.

Jameson scored eight, with Canan and Martland adding five each and Phillips and Allen with three apiece.

The Admirals put their unbeaten record on the line this evening when they host Bearden.

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