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Emerging play at post, perimeter keep Admirals hot into Super 16

An emerging junior post enjoyed a breakout game in helping Farragut stay hot near the end of the calendar year.

With 12 points in the second quarter alone dominating the West defense combining power and spin moves to the basket, 6-foot-6 Sam Watson and his 22 points carried the Admirals to its fourth straight win.

The Rebels were an 82-48 blowout victim at FHS’s Lynn E. Sexton Gymnasium Friday, Dec. 21.

“I thought Sam Watson played well tonight,” said Farragut head coach Donald Dodgen, whose Admirals improved to 11-2 on the season while remaining 3-2 in District 4-AAA. “They couldn’t handle him inside. Tonight he really came along.”

Watson said he’d been “kinda off all season, and I finally got in a zone and that kinda helped out.

“I usually play like that over the summer for A-A-U, but then I just kinda got in a little slump over the season,” he added. “I finally turned it on.”

Saying his team gained confidence from a 75-71 overtime win against Karns the night before at FHS, Dodgen added he was “a little worried about how we were going to respond tonight. But we came out and played hard.”

Among Farragut’s dominating stats was forcing 23 Rebel turnovers.

Behind the play of junior point guard Jonathan Moore, who scored 13, the Admirals led 49-25 at halftime and cruised to victory. “He has played three really good games,” Dodgen said. “He’s really picked us up, took some of the scoring load away.”

Other scorers against West were senior wing John Abraham with 10, senior guard Riley Hunley scoring nine with nine assists, and Justin Griswold, Kyle Binder and Chris Carroll six each. Ben Saunders and Nate Clark each added four, with Esean Phillips scoring two.

Griswold is a 6-foot-2 senior guard who had never seen critical playing time until this season. The senior made up for lost time against Karns, nailing a critical three-point field goal helping to force overtime.

“He hit a big three for us right at a critical time,” Dodgen said. “They left him open and he just nailed it.”

Against West, Dodgen said Griswold “came in and played real well defensively tonight. He’s not a real flashy player, but he’s a consistent player. Justin’s always going to play defense for us.”

Griswold said the increased responsibility “means a lot because I get to come in and help the team win any way I can,” adding his strongest attributes are passing and defense. “I try to play hard defense.”

Dodgen labeled the Karns win “an emotional game,” adding his team “didn’t play well the first half.”

However, “In the third quarter we just shut ’em down defensively,” the coach added. “We made the big shots at the end when we needed to.”

Dodgen continued to sing the praises of Moore, who along with Carroll scored 14. “He had another outstanding night,” the coach said. “He hit a clutch three-pointer to put us in the lead.”

Binder, a 6-foot-6 senior starting post, led Farragut with 15 against the Beavers. Hunley added 13, followed by Abraham and Watson with six apiece. Phillips added four, plus Griswold’s clutch three-pointer.

Carroll led the Admiral overtime effort with four points. Phillips and Binder each scored two it OT, with Moore adding a free throw.

SUPER 16 – 600?

Farragut once again makes an appearance at the annual Super 16 Tournament at Bearden High School (Dec. 27-29) among an eight-team field.

The Admirals open against perennial Knox County power Fulton at approximately 9 p.m. tonight (Thursday).

For Dodgen, he’ll be seeking career win No. 600 against the Falcons in a coaching career spanning 30-plus years. A former high school All-state honoree and Tennessee state scoring champ at Gatlinburg-Pittman in the late 1960s before a standout college career at Tennessee Wesleyan in Athens, Dodgen is coaching his 12th season at FHS.

The Farragut-Fulton winner plays the Baylor-Morristown East winner at approximately 9 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.

Boys Super 16 championship game is set for 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29.


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