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Wake-up calls work for FHS hoopsters
Clark leads Ads to blowout of Powell after FHS edges previous unbeaten Walker Valley


Nate Clark scored just two first-half points against Powell, while the man he was guarding led the Panthers in scoring 16 minutes into the game.

But things turned around dramatically after the break Friday, Jan. 2, in FHS’s Lynn E. Sexton Gymnasium.

Farragut head coach Donald Dodgen “pulled me aside before the second half … he got in my head, he said ‘you just need you to step up, we need you to be a leader,’” said Clark, an Admirals’ senior forward who scored 13 of his game-high 17 points in the third quarter to lead Farragut’s 75-41 rout of Powell.

“He said the guy I was guarding had the most points on the team, so he kinda sparked me a little bit,” Clark added. “It motivated me to play defense.”


Coach Dodgen labeled Clark’s performance “one of the best games I’ve seen, Nate played well on both ends,” also praising his “post moves” and “moving the ball well.

“I challenged him at halftime to do better defensively and he did, he had a heck of a ballgame tonight,” Dodgen added. “He gave us a spark there to make a run.”

Though Andrew Greene led PHS with seven first-half points, Clark and company held Greene to only three after halftime as Powell’s record fell to 5-7.

Farragut, meanwhile, was coming off one of its best performances of the season, a 59-56 win against previously unbeaten Walker Valley during the final game of the Lenoir City Christmas Classic Dec. 30. “The Walker Valley win was a great team win,” Dodgen said. “I thought our kids handled their runs real well.”

Along with wins versus Hardin Valley Academy Dec. 29 in the LCHS tourney, 71-34, and 49-42 at Clinton Saturday, Jan. 3, the Ads improve to 14-2 overall. (More on other games later in this story)

Sophomore guard Wayman McLaughlin said the one-sided loss to Bearden Dec. 12 “kinda lit a fire in us and made us want to go out and play hard each and every game,” adding the Walker Valley victory “was a good team win, got us some confidence.”

Tied 15-15 after one frame against Powell, Farragut used eight second-quarter points from standout senior post Sam Watson to push ahead 37-24 at halftime. However, “I didn’t think we played very good defense in the first half,” Dodgen said.

Behind Clark’s third-quarter effort, the Ads increased the lead to 57-36. “I thought the third quarter we just absolutely shut ’em down,” Dodgen said. “I think we’re doing a better job moving the ball, I think we’ve grown up a lot. Our defense speaks for itself.

“I thought we just absolutely wore ’em down.”

Nick Binder came off the bench to lead FHS’s fourth-quarter scoring effort, tossing in six points.

Watson ended with 14, while fellow senior post Ben Mixer added 10 for the Admirals. McLaughlin, who nailed a pair of three-point baskets early to get FHS going in the first quarter, ended with nine.

“Wayman hit some big threes when we needed some big threes,” Dodgen said. “He’s shooting the ball pretty doggone well.”

Reese Browning had seven points while Landon Hunley added three for Farragut. Stephen Britten and Nathan Gibson each scored two.

FHS 59 WALKER VALLEY 56

Watson’s 21 points led the way in handing WVHS its first loss (14-1). Moore added 11, Austin Bolen and Browning seven each, McLaughlin and Clark four apiece, Mixer three, Hunley two.

FHS 49 CLINTON 42

Though Dodgen said the grind of five games in eight days “showed on offense,” the Admirals played “great defense.”

Watson again led Farragut in scoring with 12, while Hunley added nine points.

FHS 71 HARDIN VALLEY 34

Austin Bolen led Farragut with 15 points followed by 10 for Clark, six each for Binder and Moore.

 

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