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Farragut rally a ‘benchmark’ effort
Admirals’ bench takes up slack caused by fouls, injury to beat 4-AAA foe Lenoir City

A strong but short presence in the post was a vital part of a strong bench that helped save the day for Farragut boys basketball Friday night.

With both of its big men fouling out — and 6-foot-9 standout senior post Sam Watson scoring only two points — Farragut carried over some late third quarter momentum into a 63-54 victory against District 4-AAA rival Lenoir City in FHS’s Lynn E. Sexton Gymnasium Jan. 9.

The Admirals zoomed ahead 18-9 early in the second quarter before an 11-point explosion from standout 6-foot-7 Panther post Tyler Hood propelled LCHS to a 30-27 halftime lead.

But several Admirals reserves helped spark a rally late in the third quarter and early in the fourth with a 14-2 run that gave FHS the lead for good.

“Once we got the lead — we know how to win,” FHS head coach Donald Dodgen said, as his Admirals improve to 16-2 overall, 6-1 in district.

Farragut will look to avenge one of its two losses as archrival Bearden, unbeaten in 4-AAA entering the week, comes to FHS, Friday evening, Jan. 13.


Though Hood’s high post moves to the basket produced a game-high 25 points while serving as the biggest reason Watson and 6-foot-10 senior Ben Mixer fouled out, 6-foot reserve forward Austin Bolen stepped in and helped hold Hood to just four points in the fourth quarter.

“I’m only six-foot, and when the two big guys go down I’m called upon to play inside, I guess,” said Bolen, also a standout FHS football linebacker. “Coach just likes to use me for my strength and I just try to muscle guys out of there. But Hood is an exceptional player, he had a sweet shot and he’s quick enough to take it around yah.”

About withstanding the losses of Watson, Mixer and senior starting point guard Jonathan Moore [knee injury] late, “We’ve got a ton of depth … we’ve got so many people that can step up and play any position,” Bolen said. “We’re not very big, except for Sam and Ben, but everybody can play different positions just because we work so hard. ... Everybody likes to get dirty and hustle.”

Despite Moore’s injury, which is not serious according to Dodgen, the senior point guard led Farragut with 18 points. Landon Hunley, junior guard, came off the bench to scored 15 while Nate Clark, senior post, had 11.

Dodgen said Hood is “quicker than our big men … our big men are just a half step slow on him. We played around with this for a couple of days: ‘who’s going to guard him?’ … He’s left-handed, he can take it to the hole and he can shoot jump shots.

“But Hood got tired at the end and missed some shots,” Dodgen added. “I thought Austin did a good job at the end. … Ben did a good job for a while shutting him down and then at the end he got his fifth foul.

“We got in terrible foul trouble, we made some awful fouls. And we got in a hole, I think we were six down then we made a run.”

Lenoir City’s record fell to 8-6 overall, 4-3 in 4-AAA. Caleb Mallory scored 13 for the Panthers.

Dodgen said his reserves “came in and did a good job. I thought Hunley did a good job, [Reese] Browning did a good job, [Zach] Warnock came in and did a good job. ...”

Wayman McLaughlin added six for FHS, while Bolen scored five, Browning four and two for Mixer.

McLaughlin, sophomore guard, said “the junior class, I think, stepped up really well.”

Individually, “I think our back-up big man, ‘Auddie,’ stepped up, Austin Bolen, and the rest of the guys. Zach Warnock had a crucial steal, everybody just kinda stepped up and it fell into place. ...”

Saying his team “wasn’t ready to play tonight,” Dodgen added the Panthers “did everything they needed to do to win the ballgame except right there at the end, we bowed our back.

“The whole thing is we missed too many free throws [18-of-25 made],” Dodgen added.


Three Admirals reached double figures in scoring in a 74-40 district rout of Heritage Tuesday, Jan. 6, at HHS. Clark led Farragut with 19 points followed by Watson with 16 and Bolen 13. Mixer added nine, Hunley five and Warnock four points. Moore scored two while Browning and Stephen Britten each hit a free throw.


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