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Admirals ‘pressure’ Chargers, win 73-65

Highly effective full-court pressure, 11 young men with fresh legs, 29 points from one standout post and solid defensive work from the other added up to major success Monday night for Donald Dodgen’s basketball team.

Farragut overcame a nine-point deficit early in the second period after turning up the heat with full-court pressure and not letting up against perennial Class AA power McMinn Central Dec. 27, in the opening round of the Bearden Super 16 Tournament at BHS.

The Ads built a six-point halftime lead and the Chargers never caught up, as FHS won 73-65.

“We came out and played our game the way we know how to play,” said 6-foot-7 post Ben Bosse, who led all scorers with 29 points despite having to deal with a rare thing — a player three inches taller on the inside named Rob Bledsoe (6-foot-10). “We came out with a good intensity level and just took it to ’em the way we know how.”

After falling behind 26-17 early in the second quarter, “we really picked up our defense,” Bosse said. “ We played a lot harder than we did in the beginning.”

That’s also the point at which the Admirals began full court pressure. “The whole aspect of the ballgame changed,” coach Dodgen said. “And the reason it changed was simply because of the press. I thought our press wore them down. We knew we could press ’em, but we didn’t know we’d be that effective. We caused quite a few critical turnovers.

“I thought our depth really had something to do with winning this game,” he added. “At one time (11) different people played.”

Dodgen praised his bench, starting with junior guard B. J. Browning. “He hit a couple of big threes,” Dodgen said of Browning’s 10-point performance. “Will Akers played well, Tyler Powell played well, Scott Carroll played well, (Jordan) Hays came in and played well for us, and Blake Denny. That’s what we’ve got to have to win ballgames.”

Unlike earlier in the season, “we can do that better because we’re healthier,” Dodgen said, adding that nagging injuries “were nagging enough just to slow us down. We had a little more energy at times, and the reason was we got our legs back and we got some people healthy.”

Bosse added that the FHS press “definitely helped us pick up our level of play.”

The bottom line? “We know that we can play with anybody,” Bosse said.

For the most part it was 6-foot-4 senior post Kyle Huckins — not Bosse — who was in charge of slowing down Bledsoe. The huge Charger senior scored only seven points. “Kyle did a good job defensively against him,” Bosse said. “He kept him to virtually nothing.”

Despite his game-high 29 points, Bosse admitted having to adjust his shot at times against Bledsoe, adding “he’s a big boy ... it’s difficult when you’re not used to playing those big guys. We don’t have anybody that large in our district. It’s always fun to go against somebody bigger than you.”

Though fouling out late in the game, Huckins finished with 12 points for Farragut, which improved its record to 7-5 overall entering Tuesday’s Super 16 semifinals against unbeaten Fulton (after press deadline). Nolan Nevels scored eight, with Akers and Wilson each adding five. Marcus Huie and Carroll had two points apiece.

Beau Brown, Central’s 6-foot-3, 185-pound junior wing, scored a team-high 22 points, which included 11 in the first quarter and eight in the fourth quarter.

Blake Derrick, a 6-foot-4 junior wing, added 17 for Central, whose record dropped to 8-3 entering play in Tuesday’s loser’s bracket round against Greeneville.

Two Scott Carroll free throws with 2:42 left in the second quarter gave the Ads a 32-31 lead it never relinquished. An Akers jumper followed by Ben Wilson’s three-pointer just before the halftime buzzer increased the FHS edge to 39-33 at halftime.

Though Central pulled to within a point midway into the third quarter, five Browning points capped a 9-0 FHS run to put the Ads up 57-47 within the first few seconds of the fourth quarter. The Chargers never got closer than five points the rest of the way.

Two layups while converting 5-of-6 free throws in the final minute kept Central at bay.


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