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Diegel, bench lift FHS past Govs; Lady Ads fall

Katie Cargo of Farragut (22) reacts to a loose ball with Lady Gov Tatum Burstrom reacting in the distance.- Alan Sloan/farragutpress
A recovering junior wing and a revitalized bench has Farragut boys basketball riding a mini-winning streak heading into District 4-AAA Tournament play this week.

Taylor Diegel, still recovering from a late December high ankle sprain, scored a team-high 18 points to lead the Admirals past William Blount 63-55 Saturday evening, Feb. 13, at FHS's Lynn E. Sexton Gymnasium.

Clutch late-game baskets from senior reserves Trevlyn Singleton and Brian Westervelt helped improve the Ads' final regular season mark to 16-11, finishing 6-8 in district earning them No. 5 seed in the district tourney at Lenoir City High School.

“We moved the ball pretty well tonight, drive and dish is the best thing we did tonight,” said Diegel, who also pitched in seven big points in a 53-49 district win at Maryville Feb. 9. “Trevlyn hit those two back-to-back threes, those were big.”

Suffering a high-ankle sprain plus “stressed ligaments right where the foot and ankle meet” in a holiday tournament game, Diegel was out about one month.

“I'm taping it up every day and [taking] painkillers,” he said. “I would say it's probably 95 percent."

Donald Dodgen, FHS boys head coach, said the difference in the game was “when Brian Westervelt hit a big three in the corner, and when Singleton hit his two shots. We're getting a little bit deeper right now.” Singleton ended with 12 points.

“And Diegel shot the ball pretty well.”

Also off the bench, “I thought Robert Jones came in and played pretty well, real good defense for us,” Dodgen added about his junior back-up point guard.

Meanwhile, the FHS Lady Admirals have a mini losing streak to deal with despite a 20-7 finish to the regular season and No. 2 district tourney seed (10-4).

Losing a 10-point lead late in the third quarter, Farragut was edged out by No. 6 tourney seed William Blount 47-46 despite Hayley Newby's 20 points. (More on FHS girls later in this story)

As No. 5 in the 4-AAA tourney, the FHS boys played No. 8 seed Heritage Wednesday evening, after press deadline, in a game it had to win to keep the season alive).

A win Wednesday leaves the Ads playing No. 4 seed West beginning at 8 p.m., Friday. If Farragut reaches the semifinals, it would play No. 1 seed Bearden at 8 p.m., Monday, Feb. 22. Boys championship game begins around 8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 24, after the 6:30 p.m. consolation.

The Admirals overcame a seven-point first-period deficit and trailed by five early in the second quarter before an 8-0 FHS run included two Wayman McLaughlin driving baskets and a 23-20 lead.

The Governors (14-13 overall, 5-9 in district) managed to catch FHS and go up 50-49 early in the fourth quarter behind a game-high 20 points from Micah Ballard.

Westervelt's three-point jumper with 2:29 to play pushed Farragut ahead 58-53 just moments after Singleton's back-to-back threes.

Defensively, Singleton deflected a pass leading to a steal late, rebounded a missed WB three-point shot that would have tied it with 35.8 seconds to play, then hit two free throws for a 60-55 edge.

Landon Hunley, FHS senior forward and All-District 4-AAA honoree, scored 17. McLaughlin added six points for Farragut, followed by Blake Williams with four and Reese Browning three.

Late-game success escaped head coach Wes Edmonds' Lady Ads.

“We gave up some easy baskets to them, we didn't have very good rotation on help-side [defense],” Edmonds said. “We had a decent lead, and we missed a whole lot of free throws (five of seven in the fourth quarter, including two one-and-ones).”

A 10-1 run for the Lady Govs (9-14, 5-9) turned a 41-35 deficit with 5:25 to play into a 45-42 edge with just 42 seconds remaining, the last two following an FHS turnover.

Katie Cargo scored 14 for FHS, including eight in the third quarter. “She had moments where she was unstoppable there for a little bit,” Edmonds said about his junior guard.

“And Hayley played well."

Jessica Griswold scored four, followed by Abbie Cooper and Anna Brinson with three each and Alex Newby two points.

“We definitely didn't show up tonight. I think our heads weren't in the game,” said Griswold, a starting junior wing.

As No. 2 in the 4-AAA tourney, Farragut plays next Saturday beginning at 6:30 p.m. versus the survivor between William Blount, Lenoir City and West.

A win puts the Lady Ads into the tourney title game at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Consolation game begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.


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