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Ads seal 74-47 win over Heritage, Lady Ads edge 50-43 win

MARYVILLE — Chris Cool had some great news for early arrivals before a District 4-AAA game at Heritage High School.

“Coach is back,” the Farragut High School interim boys basketball coach said just before the girls’ varsity game tipped off.

Donald Dodgen, FHS head coach, made a triumphant return in a sport he dearly loves and Landon Hunley made school history with a triple double in a 74-47 victory Tuesday, Feb. 2.

Dodgen had been on leave of absence for nearly two weeks because of a serious foot infection.

“The quickest way to get me out of here is to make me sit down,” Dodgen said. “That would kill me.”

Instead, the Ads (14-10, 4-6) were inspired enough to play their most complete game of the season.

Hunley was the driving force with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, and he was elated when assistant coach Cool mentioned the rare feat in the locker room.

“It’s pretty neat,” said the 6-foot-5 senior post that outgrew a point guard’s body. “I wasn’t even aware of it until coach Cool said something.

“[Heritage] was really collapsing on the middle and that opened up some easy passing lanes,” Hunley added.”It was just great to have coach Dodgen back and we tried not to let up.”

It was Dodgen’s 650th victory in 37 seasons as a head coach and Hunley’s triple double was the first by an Admirals player in Dodgen’s 14 seasons at Farragut. The Admirals were 1-2 in Dodgen’s absence.

There’s a good chance the 59-year-old coach and former Mr. Basketball in Tennessee has been on his feet for every minute of every game, usually in a trademark vest.

Meanwhile, the Lady Ads overcame a sluggish start and defeated Heritage 50-43. 

Junior standout Hayley Newby, junior forward Jessica Griswold and freshman reserve Whitney Smith sparked a second-half comeback.

Farragut trailed 38-35 early in the fourth quarter, but Smith scored seven of her 10 points and had a game-changing 3-pointer.

Newby had another typical game for her with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Griswold also scored 10, including the team’s only field goal in a foul-plagued first quarter. (More on this game later in the story).

“It was good to be back,” said Dodgen, who is featured in the February issue of “Everything Knoxville” magazine. “I just tried to not mess anybody up. The kids deserve all the credit.”

The primary targets of Hunley’s assists were Blake Williams, who had 21 points, and Taylor Diegel, who scored 20.

“It was great to have coach Dodgen back,” Williams said. “Everybody played with a lot of energy because of him.”

The Ads used a 22-9 scoring advantage in the second quarter to take a 46-25 halftime lead. Diegel hit back-to-back 3s to put the Ads up 58-37.

Point guard Wayman McLaughlin had all eight of his points in the first half. 

Also scoring for the Ads were Stephen Britton and Clay Defayette with four apiece and Trevlyn Singleton, Reed Haugh and Daniel Leamon with two each.

FHS girls victorious

A solid team effort helped the Lady Ads pad their winning streak to five games since head coach Wes Edmonds stopped shaving on the day following a second straight loss.

“The beard started after some Bearden malaise when we lost at their place,” Edmonds said. “I just didn’t feel like shaving and was running out of time before our game at Lenoir City.

“It’s starting to itch like crazy and my wife [Buff] hates it, but she understands ... the beard isn’t going anywhere for now.”

The FHS girls improved to 18-5 and remained in second place in the district (8-2). Farragut overcame a 13-4 deficit and trailed 24-23 at halftime.

The Lady Ads stayed close by hitting 12-of-16 free throws in very physical and closely officiated first half.

Farragut finished strong on driving baskets by Smith and Jessica Griswold before Abby Cooper’s three-point play with just 5.5 seconds remaining in the half.

The team’s first lead followed Hayley Newby’s lay-up after a nice pass from her cousin, Alex Newby, who also scored six points.

Although the Lady Ads built a nine-point lead in the third quarter, the score was tied at 35-35 going into the final quarter.

Katie Cargo had a nice block along the baseline and had assists on three straight field goals by Hayley Newby.

“Hayley did a great job -— as usual,” Edmonds said. “She played really strong and ripped away some rebounds.”

Smith hesitated before making a 3-pointer for a 40-38 lead.

“I did not know whether to take the shot or not,” said the granddaughter of FHS clock operator David Smith. “I don’t know why I second guessed myself. It went in, so what can I say? We’ve been shooting quite a bit in practice and doing drills that have really helped.

“I just felt like I needed to step up and help the team and prove to myself that I can play,” added Smith, who had a career-high 12 points against Karns.

Farragut will travel to District 4-AAA rival Knoxville Catholic for a make-up game Thursday, Feb. 4, then host the Irish one night later, Friday, Feb. 5. Varsity girls game tips off around 6:30 p.m. both evenings.


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