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Farragut girls end 22-year ORHS win streak; last victory against Azzi in ’85


It was Jennifer Azzi’s junior year at Oak Ridge High School the last time Farragut beat the mighty Wildcats — almost 22 years ago.

The mighty Azzi, an All-state guard who went on to be a two-time All-American and Naismith College Player of the Year at Stanford University who led the Cardinal to the 1990 national championship, scored 25 points in a 55-54 loss to Farragut Feb. 15, 1985 at ORHS.

More than 30 meetings later, the Lady Admirals finally beat Oak Ridge, a 61-46 win Thursday, Jan. 4, at FHS’s Lynn E. Sexton Gymnasium.

For FHS senior post Kiah Simmons, “It’s always been one of my biggest rivals. We’ve always come close.”


Sophomore guard Stephanie Torrence, who led the winners with 17 points, said, “It was really cool. We came out thinking we’d won two straight. … At halftime none of us had our heads down (trailing 26-22). We all believed in ourselves because of the way we’d been playing, we knew we were going to come back and win this game.

“It’s all about teamwork and just playing together,” she added. “We hang out all the time so we know our capabilities, our weaknesses, and that’s what helped us win this game tonight.”

Oak Ridge fell to 12-4 after the loss.

Playing well in recent games according to head coach Mike Driver, Farragut improved its overall record to 12-8 entering the week. That also included a 49-43 home victory against Powell Jan. 2, snapping a 9-game Lady Panther win streak, and an easy 50-34 victory at Clinton Friday, Jan. 5.

It was Driver’s first win versus the Lady Wildcats in six seasons as FHS head coach — he was an assistant the four previous seasons.

“Everybody’s really playing good defense,” Driver said. “Usually I play Oak Ridge in a two-three zone because they’ve had [Keke] Stewart inside, but I decided to play man[-to-man] tonight because we’ve been playing so well. We matched up well with ’em, I thought, in man. And even though they were a lot quicker than us, we played smart defense. That’s everybody playing smart defense.”

Individually, “I thought Jennifer Rutherford came off the bench and gave us some real good minutes, I thought she came in and scored for us when we needed somebody to score,” Driver said. “I thought Stephanie Harris came in in the second half and played physical. I thought her and Kiah [Simmons] did a good job being physical with them down the stretch.”

Farragut’s early 11-2 run was keyed by five points from Rutherford, including a three, plus a basket and free throw from Allison Bosse, as FHS built an early 12-5 lead.

But after a Brittany Doss assist to C.J. Dake for a lay-up, the Lady Admirals went the final 2:48 of the half without scoring and Oak Ridge pounced: a 10-0 run for a 26-22 halftime lead.

“In the first half we had way too many turnovers,” Driver said, adding that he advised his team they’d have to “fight through” tough stretches..

“In the second half we limited turnovers and took better shots.”

Five straight points from Torrence, including a rebound basket-turned three-point play, turned a 34-30 deficit to a 35-34 lead with 3:03 left in the third quarter. The Lady Wildcats would never lead again.

Baskets by Rutherford and Stephanie Harris, the latter set up by a Simmons block, upped the lead to 39-34.

A 14-4 FHS run to begin the fourth quarter was highlighted by five points from senior wing Kara Beth Beverly and four from Harris, who ended with 11 points.

“After the Atlanta tournament we all came together and bonded.” Simmons said. “I just knew if we played together like we played against Powell, defense and all, we would win. We started off a little shaky in the first quarter, but we pulled together in the second quarter. In the third quarter we had ’em. It just feels great.”

“Since South-Doyle (a mid-December loss) we’ve really been playing as a team,” Driver said.

Rutherford ended with nine points, Beverly seven, Simmons and Bosse five each, Dake four and Doss three points.

Nana McClanahan led Oak Ridge with 17.

Praising ORHS head coach Jill Prudden and her 800-plus wins and numerous outstanding teams dating back to the early 1980s, “Oak Ridge is the premier program, and coach Prudden, I think, is the best coach in Tennessee if not the southeast,” Driver said.

In that 1985 win against ORHS, Jerry Cannon was Lady Admirals head coach and players Michelle Hardin (21 points) and Patti Holcomb (17) led the winning charge offensively.

FHS 49 POWELL 43

One factor helping to end Powell’s nine-game winning streak: “We did a great job on the boards, we out-rebounded them by fifteen or sixteen, and that’s what it takes,” Driver said. “Kiah had double-digit rebounds, Torrence had eight or nine, we had a lot of different people with a lot of rebounds. We kept them from getting second-chance opportunities.”

As for points, Torrence led with 17 followed by Beverly with nine, Dake eight, Doss seven, Bosse six and Harris two points. Farragut also forced 18 Powell turnovers.

FHS 50 CLINTON 34

Beverly nailed four 3-pointers and led FHS with 18 points, followed by Torrence with seven, Harris and Bosse five each, Katie Cafferky four, Rutherford three, Meredith Lindley two and one each for Doss and Andrea Britton.

 

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