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’Dawgs, Admirals one win from region semifinal match at SDHS

Donald Dodgen would like to pull an New York Giants-type upset against a Bearden Bulldogs team the FHS skipper said should win the Class AAA state championship.

Dodgen and his No. 3 district-seeded Admirals would get that chance at 8 p.m. next Monday, Feb. 18, in the second round of the 4-AAA Tournament at South-Doyle High School, provided both teams take care of business Friday, Feb. 15 in opening round tourney games at home.

Bearden, No. 2 seed (12-2 final 4-AAA regular season record, 26-2 overall entering the week), will host No. 7 seed Heritage at 7 p.m., Friday. See related story on page 14.

Farragut, 22-6 overall, 10-4 final 4-AAA record with a six-game winning streak entering post-season play, will host South-Doyle at 7 p.m. Friday.

District tournament finals at SDHS is Wednesday, Feb. 20.

The Admirals ended the regular season with a 76-57 mashing of Lenoir City on Senior Night in Lynn E. Sexton Gymnasium Friday, Feb. 8.

Overcoming a 14-12 deficit after one quarter to lead 37-30 at the half and 58-48 after three quarters, Dodgen said his team’s depth “simply wore ’em down ... their legs were gone.”

Last week began with a 67-50 win at Sevier County Feb. 4, followed by a 74-59 victory at Heritage Feb. 5.

About his team’s recent surge, Dodgen said, “I think we’ve played some pretty good defense. I think we’ve got some people healthy.”

Individually, Dodgen said senior guard Riley Hunley has been a huge catalyst.

“Riley played well all three ballgames ... with him out there, he’s the leader. The kids kinda look up to him. Tonight he made two of three steals, made some things happen.”

Hunley scored 10 of his game-high 24 points in the first quarter. “You want to go into the tournament with good momentum, and I think tonight we did that,” Hunley said. “We played great defense.

“Defense is the key for us right now,” the senior added. “We get a little sloppy at times, and get a little lazy, but as long as we play together we seem to play pretty good.”

Senior guard Esean Phillips scored 12 of his 18 points in the second quarter.

Senior guard John Abraham scored 10, with Jonathan Moore adding eight, Kyle Binder six and Sam Watson five points. Chris Carroll scored four while Justin Griswold added a free throw.

Binder, a 6-foot-6 senior post, led the way against Sevier County with 15 points. Carroll and Abraham each scored 14, Hunley 11 and Phillips seven.

Moore had three, Nate Clark two and Watson one free throw.

Binder stayed on a roll one night later at Heritage, scoring a game-high 21 points that included nine in the third quarter. Carroll scored 13, eight in the second quarter.

Hunley added seven, Moore, Ben Saunders and Phillips six each and Watson two points.


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