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Akers, Abraham help Ads rally

The big steal and the winning basket against a rival.

That was Will Akers’ closing act in a dramatic finish as Farragut rallied to nip Oak Ridge 62-61 Thursday, Jan. 4, at FHS.

Down 61-56 with less than 70 seconds left, Farragut closed to within two after junior wing John Abraham hit a three-pointer to set the stage for Akers, a senior guard playing his last regular season game against ORHS.

Following an Admiral timeout, Akers switched off defensively and stole an inbounds lob pass near midcourt. Akers passed the ball but got it back and nailed the eventual winning basket, a three-pointer, at the top of the key with 52 seconds to play. After releasing the shot, “It felt good,” said Akers, who led FHS with 17 points.

“I was thinking, if we let this go it’ll be terrible because we were up eleven in the first half,” he added. “We wanted to beat them just as much as Bearden.”

Oak Ridge ran the clock down to the final few ticks when standout guard Jared Stephens, who finished with a game-high 19 points, drove the lane but had his shot blocked. The loose ball became a lane “tie-up.” FHS had the possession arrow with only 2.6 seconds left.

“I think about three of us got the block,” Admiral post Phil Kinney said.

With Oak Ridge out of timeouts, it didn’t matter that Farragut missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1.6 seconds remaining.

“Will Akers played a real good, steady game tonight, and I thought John Abraham played well tonight,” FHS head coach Donald Dodgen said. “[John] didn’t score many points but if you noticed he handled that pressure real well.”

Entering the week, Farragut’s record stood at 14-3, 5-0 in District 4-AAA. Oak Ridge fell to 13-4 overall.

“That’s just a good team win tonight, any time you beat Oak Ridge,” Dodgen said. “I thought that everyone that played tonight did something special for us. … We stayed composed and made big shots at the end.”

In reference to Oak Ridge in District 3-AAA, “I think they’re the best team over there,” Dodgen said. “They’re quickness really hurt us.”

Akers said, “They’re quick and they’re huge, so we had to pack it in with a zone and try to stop the penetration and inside game, and make ’em shot from the outside and hopefully get all the rebounds.”

Kinney said, “This is probably the best team we’ve seen.”

Akers adde that “picking up the intensity” was the big difference in beating Oak Ridge versus losing decisively against Powell, 69-54, two days earlier at FHS.

Ahead 16-15 after one frame Farragut raced out to a 30-19 with 2:48 left in the half following eight points from Akers, including a pair of threes, plus a short jumper by junior post Kyle Binder.

Oak Ridge scored eight straight, but Esean Phillips’ three with 47 seconds left in the half made it 33-27 at the break.

Stephens scored 10 third-quarter points, eight of them driving to the hoop and the final one following a steal to give ORHS its first lead since the first quarter, 45-44, with 41 seconds left in the third. The quarter ended 47-47.

Binder scored nine. “He made some big baskets,” Dodgen said. Zach Onusic added eight, Phillips seven, Kinney and Mason Burks six each, Wilhoite four, Abraham three and Riley Hunley two points.


Chris Conner’s 15 points in the second quarter — game-high 27 overall — highlighted the Pan-thers’ 27-point second frame to go ahead 41-30 at halftime and never look back. Akers and Onusic led FHS with 12 each. Among other scorers was Ben Sanders (three).


Phillips nailed six 3-point field goals (18 points), including three in the third quarter that helped the Admirals pull away. Justin Griswold (five) and Chris Carroll (two) also scored for Farragut.


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