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Coach shaves beard to celebrate Farragut girls’ region run

SEVIERVILLE — A pair of groundbreaking wins also turned into a beard-breaking moment for head coach Mike Driver during the Region 2-AAA Tournament semi-finals at Sevier County High School Wednesday, March 1.

After his Farragut Lady Admirals defeated Karns 64-58 to clinch the program’s first-ever sectional tournament appearance, Driver was assisted by his senior players in shaving off his beard, which he agreed to do if Farragut won after a suggestion by assistant coach Wes Edmonds before the game.

Things only got better one night later, as FHS held off Powell 50-46 to win the program’s first-ever region championship.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” FHS senior wing Haley Williams said.

Senior point guard Beth Raby added, “It’s incredible, I don’t even know what to say. We totally made history tonight.”

In a tight game throughout against Powell, Farragut broke a 41-41 tie midway into the fourth quarter with a Rachel Draper three-point basket and Kiah Simmons five-foot basket to go up 46-41 with 3:30 left.

After FHS missed the front end of a one-and-one while leading only 48-46 with 12.5 seconds to play, freshman guard Stephanie Torrence made a huge play.

As Powell was frantically heading upcourt after the rebounded free throw, Torrence came from behind to steal the ball from standout PHS post Caitlin Hollifield with 5.8 seconds left.

Torrence, who said she was able to “block everything out,” hit both free throws to seal the region championship. She also led the team in scoring with 13 points.

Senior post Catelyn Dake, tourney most valuable player, scored 12 for Farragut.

“She just played so hard on defense, anticipating the ball,” Driver said, “and just doing everything she needed to do to help this team win. She’s very deserving.

As for Raby and Draper, Farragut’s other All-Region honorees, “[Beth] played extremely hard on defense, going after loose balls. And Rachel did a great job shooting from the perimeter, got timely steals, made some big threes for us and got some good rebounds,” Driver said.

Raby scored nine, Draper eight, Simmons five, C.J. Dake two and Kara Beth Beverly one point.

Driver also said Torrence and Simmons, a junior post, should also have made the All-Region team. “Kiah Simmons was just a warrior all week,” Driver said. “She’s played super defense.”


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