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SEVIERVILLE — Farragut’s big offensive post machine sprung three first quarter leaks that created immediate cause for concern.

But as first reported at Farragut First Edition, Feb. 23, the Admirals plugged those leaks with a second-half rally that barely fell short against Maryville, 39-37, in a dramatic District 4-AAA Tournament semifinal finish Monday evening at Sevier County High School.

Rallying from a 10-0 deficit early and 25-15 halftime disadvantage before first grabbing the lead late in the third quarter, Farragut (23-6) played Lenoir City (17-9) in the 4-AAA consolation game Wednesday, Feb. 25, at SCHS (see

“We were off 11 days, and in the first half it showed the difference of 11 days,” FHS head coach Donald Dodgen said. “We’ve got to make free throws (only 6-of-15) and we missed too many easy shots.”

However, “they fought hard, we did what we needed to do to come back,” Dodgen added. “Defen-sively I thought we played as well as we could play. I couldn’t ask for anything else defensively.”

The Rebels (23-6) advanced to square off with the state No. 1-ranked Bearden Bulldogs (30-2) in the 4-AAA title game Feb. 25 (see


Nip and tuck late, the Admirals went up 35-34 on a Nate Clark free throw with 3:47 to play.

Maryville went scoreless the first 5:21 of the final quarter until Jay Reynolds, 6-foot-9 MHS post, got loose inside, and his lay-up with 2:39 to play broke the ice and put the Rebs back ahead 36-35.

After a Maryville free throw, Sam Watson, Farragut 6-foot-9 senior post who survived picking up three first quarter fouls, missed under the basket, but Maryville threw away the rebound with 51 seconds left.

The Admirals missed two shots around the basket and MHS’s Justin Wilson got a deflected rebound with 19 seconds left and was fouled by Ben Mixer — the second of two late fouls by the 6-foot-10 Admirals senior post that left him expelled with five.

But Wilson missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Admirals reserve forward Reese Browning tied the game 37-37 on a 12-foot jumper with just 12 seconds showing.

Maryville raced down without using a timeout, got the ball to Reynolds, who found a wide open Wilson for the eventual game-winning wide open lay-up with one second to play.

“We didn’t make the last rotation on defense, and that’s my fault there,” Dodgen said.

Mixer said, “We came back, we had the emotion, it just wasn’t enough,”

Mixer led Farragut with 10 points followed by Watson and Wayman McLaughlin with eight each, Jonathan Moore six, Landon Hunley and Reese Browning two each and Clark the free throw.

Reynolds, Click and Stan Romberg led Maryville with 10 points apiece.

Down 10-0, Farragut answered offensively early with three-point baskets from guards Moore and McLaughlin. It was 15-7 Rebs after one. “We never gave up and we knew this was a clutch game,” said McLaughlin, a sophomore. “We pulled it together for a long time. … It was a great team effort, but [MHS] just pulled it out in the end.”

Despite Watson’s absence due to fouls, Farragut closed the gap. Baskets by Hunley and Mixer cut the MHS edge to 15-11 at the 5:37 mark.

Mixer scored twice more to keep FHS in range despite the 25-15 halftime deficit “I thought Ben Mixer came in and did a good job for us there,” Dodgen said.

Up 12 a few seconds into the third quarter, Maryville saw the Admirals rally to take its first lead.

Five points each from McLaughlin and Watson highlighted a 12-0 FHS run ending with Moore’s fast-break lay-up after a steal to put Farragut up 32-30 with 3:05 left in the quarter.

Moore, a senior, injured his left ankle at the 4:29 mark of the fourth quarter and did not return. The extent of the injury was not known at press deadline.

Before the game, Watson and Moore were named All-District 4-AAA honorees, while Clark, Mixer and Austin Bolen, a senior forward, earned Honorable Mention All-4-AAA recognition.


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