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FHS splits first two tourney games

LENOIR CITY — Needing overtime before escaping the clutches of a Class AA Sequoyah team with five previous losses, Farragut would not escape Walker Valley’s second-half assault one day later.

The Class AAA Mustangs of Bradley County, becoming Hardin Valley Academy’s first- ever victim one day before, overcame a 14-point halftime deficit to beat the Ads 67-58 Tuesday, Dec. 29, in Lenoir City Christmas Classic at LCHS.

A 31-5 Walker Valley run, from the 6-minute mark of the third quarter until the final 1:21 of the game, saw Farragut’s 41-28 lead become a 59-46 Mustangs edge.

In the second half, “Nobody shot the ball well ... we missed so many easy shots,” said FHS head coach Donald Dodgen, whose Ads fell to 8-5 overall while remaining 1-3 in District 4-AAA.

“We’re thinking too much and worrying we might miss the shot,” Dodgen added.

Walker Valley, a state tournament team last season, im-proved to 9-5.

Generally crisp first-half offensive execution put Farragut up 14-7 after one quarter and 38-24 at halftime.

“I thought we moved the ball so well,” Dodgen said, “But I think a young team like we are, we kinda got complacent at halftime because we did such a good job.

“We thought we’d just show up and we didn’t have to play real hard in the second half.”

Landon Hunley, FHS senior forward, scored 10 second-quarter points to lead the early success. He was held scoreless in the second half.

“I thought Landon played well the first half,” Dodgen said.

Second-half foul trouble resulted in Hunley fouling out with 2:17 to play.

“The second half pretty much killed us,” Hunley said. “We just couldn’t hit any easy shots.

“Defensively, we gave up some pretty easy looks.”

In the first half, “We moved the very well and got easy looks around the basket,” Hunley said.

Blake Williams, FHS sophomore guard, scored 10 of his 13 points in the first half.

Forward Reese Browning nailed three 3-point field goals and finished with nine, one night after the senior led Farragut past Sequoyah 64-61 with 20 points.

“Reese lit it up [against Sequoyah], but didn’t shoot the ball very well tonight,” Dodgen said.

Taylor Diegel, FHS junior guard, suffered a “turned ankle” in the first quarter, and later came out of the Farragut locker room on crutches.

“When Diegel got hurt, I think that dropped a little bit out of us,” Dodgen said.

Other FHS scorers versus Walker Valley were Wayman McLaughlin seven, Diegel and Stephen Britton four each and two apiece for Will Park, Trevlyn Singleton, Nick Bender and Robert Jones. Daniel Leamon added a free throw.

Mustangs wing Cody Burrell scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half. Guard Drew Zaleta added 21.

“[Burrell] is one of the better guards we’ve played against,” Dodgen said.

Other Admirals scorers versus Sequoyah (6-6 record after FHS) were Williams and Singleton with eight each, Britton seven, Park six and Diegel five.

Hunley scored four points, with McLaughlin, Jones and Bender adding two apiece.

Trailing Sequoyah for most of the game — 15-13 after one quarter, 31-29 at halftime and 47-43 after three periods — “We shot the lights out of it the second half,” Dodgen said.


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