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Dodgen gets 600
Veteran coach honored for milestone win as Ads claim two of three at ‘Super 16’

The game was a laugher last Friday at Bearden High School, but its significance was monumental within the area coaching fraternity.

Dodgen records 600. Farragut’s 73-40 blowout victory against Morristown East in the second round of the annual D-1 Sports Super 16 Tournament Dec. 28 marked head coach Donald Dodgen’s 600 career coaching victory in his 35th season heading a program — 12th at FHS. Presenting a special basketball to Dodgen with the accomplishment inscribed was his rival, BHS head coach Mark Blevins, just seconds before the game ended. Blevins praised Dodgen’s body of work while addressing the crowd.

“This probably puts coach Dodgen in the top one percent of elite coaches in the nation,” Blevins said.

Dodgen dished out his own praise. “It’s 35 years of having real good players, real good assistants and a very understanding wife [Mary Ann] and family,” the coach said. “It’s been a great 35 years.

“Normally people don’t stay in it this long, but I enjoy the kids, I enjoy basketball.”

Jonathan Moore, FHS junior guard, said “it’s great being part of such a great accomplishment.”

In his first 11 seasons at FHS, Dodgen has won two District 4-AAA League titles (1997, 2007), a 4-AAA Tournament title (2001) plus a sub-state appearance (2004).

Riley Hunley, Admiral senior guard, said “coach always has us prepared for about every game we play. We just go out and try and play as hard as we can for him. He does a great job getting us where we need to be.”

Dodgen’s mark stood at 601 after a 68-40 win against Jefferson County Saturday, Dec. 29, as the Admirals (13-3 overall) finished fifth among an eight-team field.

The Admirals’ Super 16 journey started against powerful Fulton Dec. 27, as the Falcons pulled away late for an 85-71 win.

Committing 24 turnovers, 10 in the third quarter alone, doomed Farragut against Fulton.

“We didn’t take care of the ball,” Dodgen said. “Fulton does such a good job of defending without the ball. You can’t recreate that in practice ... the kind of pressure Fulton puts on us.”

Kyle Binder, 6-foot-7 FHS senior post, said his team needed to rebound better “and getting on the shooters a little bit better, too, they were getting a lot of open shots.”

Though a 42-41 Admiral edge early in the third quarter became a 16-point Falcon lead after three quarters, Farragut responded.

A 12-2 Admiral run thanks to five points from Moore, a three-point field goal from Hunley and baskets from John Abraham and Chris Carroll cut the Fulton edge to 65-59 with five minutes to play.

But a pair of quick Falcon three-point baskets made it 71-59, and Farragut got no closer than 10 thereafter.

Senior guard Esean Phillips led FHS in points with 15, followed by Hunley and Carroll with 14 each. Moore and Abraham added nine apiece, Binder seven and Sam Watson three.

Fulton was led by James Gallman’s 23 points and Will Bryant’s 20.

Watson, 6-foot-7 junior post, led Farragut against Morristown East with a game-high 20 points. Abraham added 14, Hunley 10 and Phillips eight.

Binder scored six, Nate Clark five, Justin Griswold four and Ben Saunders and Reese Browning two apiece.

Against Jefferson County, Binder and Abraham led Farragut with 10 points each, followed by Watson’s nine and Clark and Hunley seven apiece.

Phillips, Saunders and Carroll has six points each, Nathan Gibson three, Zach Warnock two and Browning one point.


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