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Record wins, high honors for Dodgen, FHS
Admiral skipper Coach of the Year,Akers 4-AAA MVP, as Farragut reached 3rd straight 4-AAA title tilt


Having surpassed his career win total for one season as head coach of the varsity Admirals, Farragut boys basketball skipper Donald Dodgen also collected District 4-AAA Coach of the Year honors for work with his 28-win, district league champion team. Add to that, Will Akers, as the FHS senior guard was named 4-AAA Most Valuable Player last week. Akers joined teammates Zach Onusic and Phil Kinney, senior posts, as All-District honorees propelling the Admirals to a 28-4 record (as of Feb 19).

All of this would mean much less, however, without post-season success.

But the top-seeded Ads, having survived against No. 8 South-Doyle last week, reached the 4-AAA tourney title game for the third straight season following a 67-49 win against William Blount Monday, Feb. 19, in the semifinals at Maryville High School.

Remembering a 27-percent shooting effort in a 50-44 loss at William Blount earlier this month, “I think we shot a little better tonight,” said Dodgen, in his 11th year at FHS. “And the pressure we put on defensively in the third quarter was the difference in the ballgame.”

Monday’s win set the stage for a rematch of last year’s District 4-AAA tourney title game, as Farragut played No. 2 seed Maryville on its home court Wednesday, Feb. 21 (after press deadline).

Regardless of that outcome, the Admirals will host a Region 2-AAA opening round game at 7 p.m., Saturday (because they’re either a No. 1 or No. 2 region seed). Boys region tourney semifinals are Tuesday, Feb. 27, and finals Thursday, March 1 — both at West High School.

FHS 67 WILLIAM BLOUNT 49

The Govs jumped ahead 7-2 early, but behind Onusic’s six first quarter points FHS rallied to tie the game 10-10 after one period.

Down 14-10, the Ads would hold WBHS without a point for four-and-a-half minutes and got a three-point basket from John Abraham to go up 19-14 with 4:45 left in the half.

But Farragut endured a field goal drought of its own, covering 4:35, as the Govs pulled to within one, 21-20, with under a minute to play in the half.

Esean Phillips then created some last-second momentum. The FHS junior point guard sank two free throws after drawing a foul with 13 seconds left, then stole the inbounds pass. That led to Zach Onusic’s three point play, making it 26-20 at the break.

“That’s a big deal there, that takes a little air out of ’em at halftime,” Dodgen said.

As Farragut began attacking the WBHS basket with more success, Phillips converted his own “old fashioned” three-point play, giving FHS its first double-digit lead, 43-33, with 3:29 left in the third frame.

Pushing ahead 49-35, Farragut saw the Govs close fast to end the third quarter, using a pair of late three-point baskets for a 7-1 run, cutting the difference to 50-42.

WBHS stayed feisty on the boards early in the final period, closing to 50-45 and blowing two other chances to get even closer.

Farragut, meanwhile, suffered through another field goal drought — this one last almost five minutes, before Onusic’s lay-up made it 54-45 with 5:19 to play.

Tightening down the defensive glass, getting two key blocked shots from MVP Akers, and taking advantage of what Dodgen said was a “tiring” Gov team, Farragut pulled away. A six-point stretch from Kinney, two free throws and two baskets, keyed a 13-1 Admiral run making it 65-47 with 2:02 left.

FHS 63 SOUTH-DOYLE 52

Down 13-5 early thanks in part to what Dodgen said were “nerves” — because it was a season-ending elimination game — Farragut rallied to grab a 14-13 lead but never shook the Cherokees until the midway into the fourth quarter.

Up 54-48, a Riley Hunley layup off a feed from Jonathan Moore, then an Akers pass to the cutting Hunley for another lay-up made it 58-48 with 3:38 to play. South-Doyle got no closer than eight thereafter.

Akers led the winners with 16 points, followed by Abraham with 14 (nine in the second quarter with a trifecta of three-point baskets helping FHS lead 33-30 at the break). Kinney finished with 12 — six in the fourth quarter — Hunley nine, Onusic seven, Phillips three and Clay Wilhoite two points.

 

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