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Pair of road rallies give Farragut hoops sweep at HVA

The shiny new Hawks Nest at Hardin Valley Academy was more like a Hornets Nest — or Absent Minded Nest — when Farragut visited Thursday night, Dec. 3.

One of the younger Admirals players forgot an expensive pair of basketball shoes in the locker room after the game. He may get to practice bare-footed for awhile.

A player from Hardin Valley Academy left his Spiderman backpack in the bleachers.

Thank goodness for the watchful eyes of Farragut assistant coach Chris Cool and HVA principal Sallee Reynolds.

It was fitting because for the previous four hours, several players left just about everything on the court effort-wise.

The Admirals overcame an 11-point deficit early in the second half and rallied for a 78-62 win.

The Lady Admirals trailed by eight points midway through the third quarter and battled back for a 57-41 victory.

“Hardin Valley is getting better every game,” said Admirals boys head coach Donald Dodgen, whose team opened the season with a 37-point rout of the Hawks. “You can talk and tell this bunch any thing you can and they don’t believe it. Hardin Valley absolutely outplayed us the first half.”

HVA took control early and was up 31-27 by intermission. That’s when Dodgen held what he termed a “Come to Jesus prayer meeting.”

In the second half, Landon Hunley scored 16 of his game-high 24 and fellow post player Stephen Britton had 14 of his 16. Hunley also grabbed 13 rebounds. Reese Browning had a pair of  key 3-pointers among his 14 points.

Blake Williams had several key assists and also scored eight points. Nick Bender swished a 3-pointer from the corner to beat the first-quarter buzzer and trim HVA’s lead to 12-9.

“We needed a lift from somewhere and Stephen Britton and Reese Browning gave it to us,” Dodgen said. “I also thought Wayman McLaughlin came in and played some pretty good defense for us.”

The defense sparked a 20-4 run and Browning’s three-point play gave the Admirals the lead for keeps at 45-42.

Hunley’s reverse layup along the baseline made it 62-51. The Hawks trimmed the deficit to 62-57 before Farragut pulled away.

“I don’t think the final score is indicative of the game,” HVA head coach Keith Galloway said. “Farragut hit some free throws down the stretch [12 of 14] and that’s what you have got to do. It was a close game for much of the fourth quarter and we felt like we had a chance to come back and win the game. ... We’ve got to do a better job of going to the boards.”

Dominic Ratliff hit 20 points for the Hawks and D.J. Kellogg added 15.

“We were able to stop their run with a few easy baskets and we played better defense,” said Hunley, who is a 6-foot-5 senior. “We didn’t play much defense at all in the first half and we picked that up in the second half. It always helps to get some points in transition. That helps you get going on the offensive end.”

It was a family night for coach Dodgen, whose daughter, Brianne, is in her second season as an assistant for the HVA girls team. She will be the team’s interim head coach later this month.

HVA coach Jennifer Galloway (Keith’s wife) is about nine month’s pregnant. Her due date is Sunday, Dec. 13.

“I’ve told the guys that if something happens, I am out of here,” Keith Galloway said, laughing.


Farragut head coach Wes Edmonds called a timeout after the Lady Hawks built a 34-27 lead with a 14-0 run. “You’re not playing tough. You’re not playing aggressive. You’re getting pushed around. That’s not Farragut basketball,” Edmonds said. “It’s time to turn it up.”

His team responded.

Junior post Hayley Newby scored 23 points and Katie Cargo added 13, including Farragut’s only 3-pointer for the go-ahead score to make 38-36. She also had the team’s only field goal in a six-point third quarter, but FHS poured in 26 in the fourth.

Jessica Griswold and Anna Brinson combined for 15 points. Brinson also had eight of her 10 rebounds in the second half.

“Anna did a tremendous job on the boards,” Edmonds said. “Her play was huge.”

“I guess we just wanted it that bad,” said Brinson, a 5-10 sophomore. “It did not show, but I was really freaking out inside. I guess I composed myself inside. I just kept thinking about how we’ve been playing all these years together and know how to do this.”

“I thought we missed some easy baskets and we turned the ball over a few times at some key points,” Jennifer Galloway said. “Farragut got to the free-throw line and that’s where they beat us. “

The Lady Admirals (5-1) hit 20-of-29 free throws, including 14 of 18 in the fourth quarter. The Lady Hawks made six of seven.

After hitting 11 free throws in the second half, Newby knew exactly who to praise.

“It was mostly the coaching,” said the 2009 Sophomore of the Year in Knox County. “He called the timeouts and relaxed us down a little bit. Out on the floor, we’re all very supportive of each other. We are always saying, `It’s alright ... get it back.’ It’s more of the teamwork aspect.”

Freshman guard Madison Blevins hit a key long-range jumper and classmate Katie Overton had a key block. Fellow freshman Whitney Smith also played well defensively.

The bulk of HVA’s scoring was by Lauren Trent (11) and Kristin Lane (10). Tiffany Cantrell had six points.

HVA (1-4) opened the season with an overtime loss at FHS and the Lady Admirals scored all 10 points after regulation on free throws. “We gave them another scare, but we wanted to do more than that,” said Trent, who hit a game-high three 3-pointers.


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