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Third time no charm for Lady Ads
FHS tourney runner-up as MVP Vaught leads No. 7 state-ranked Lady Rebs to 4-AAA title

LENOIR CITY -— Farragut's zone defense limited the paint power of mighty Maryville in the first half — especially District 4-AAA MVP Torie Vaught.

Though Vaught, Lady Rebs standout post, scored only five first-half points, the MHS girls lit up the perimeter and used timely drives to still claim first-half control in this District 4-AAA tourney title game Tuesday night, Feb. 23, at LCHS.

Coupled with foul trouble from FHS All-District post Hayley Newby, sitting out a portion of the second quarter with two fouls before picking up her third early in the third quarter, and Farragut's task would prove all the tougher.

Maryville, No. 1 tourney seed and ranked No. 7 in state (27-2), took solid control in the third quarter en route to a district crown.

Vaught's inside game emerged — 18 second-half points — and the Lady Rebs slowly took control of the paint on their way to a 55-44 victory.

The Lady Ads, No. 2 tourney seed, drop to 21-8 overall — three of those loses to MHS.

Meanwhile, despite 23 points from sophomore guard Blake Williams, the No. 5 seeded Farragut boys' season ended short of region play for the first time in head coach Donald Dodgen's 14 years as FHS skipper.

“That's very disappointing,” Dodgen said as his Admirals' quick start versus No. 4 West in district quarterfinal action soon turned sour in an 80-57 loss during district quarterfinal play Friday, Feb. 19.

“First quarter we play just absolutely great, then we go cold, we can't score,” Dodgen added about a 26-25 lead after one frame that turned into a 46-34 halftime deficit.

Farragut's season ends with a 17-12 record. (More on FHS boys later in this story)

The Lady Rebs’ 24-16 halftime lead was 41-29 after three quarters, then grew to a 17-point edge as Vaught (23 points) and other Lady Rebs proved much more successful attacking the paint.

Vaught, also named tourney MVP, nailed a spinning five-footer with 5:57 to play, building the MHS lead to 49-32.

But Abbie Cooper helped lead a mini FHS rally.

The senior wing came off the bench for two fourth quarter baskest and a key steal off the press.

Coupled with an Alex Newby three-pointer and the Lady Ads had possession down 10, 51-41, with under three minutes to play.

“We were just trying to pressure them and make them turn it over,” Cooper said.

But two consecutive empty possession, as two three-point shots misfired, killed the rally.

Katie Cargo, one of three FHS girls named All-Tournament, scored 11 points, eight in the second half, to lead Farragut.

Hayley Newby, also an All-Tournament selection, scored eight, as did Alex Newby.

All-Tournament post Anna Brinson, an FHS sophomore, added six points.

Maryville guard Rebekah Singleton scored 12.

The Lady Admirals will host first-round Region 2-AAA action at FHS’s Lynn E. Sexton Gymnasium beginning at 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 26.

Region semifinals and finals are Monday and Wednesday, March 1 and 3.

Nine FHS boys seniors played, or dressed out for, their final games Friday, led by starters Landon Hunley, a 6-foot-5 All-District forward, and point guard Wayman McLaughlin, Honorable Mention All-District.

“Landon had 10 double-doubles [10 or more points and 10 or more rebounds per game] and one triple-double [including 10 or more assists] and averaged 13 points a game,” Dodgen said, adding the team's “main three” seniors included McLaughlin and senior forward Reese Browning.

Other FHS seniors are Trevlyn Singleton, Stephen Britton, Nick Bender, Brian Westervelt, Clay Defayette and Daniel Leamon.

“I thought they all did something well to help us,” Dodgen said. “They all worked hard.”

Against West, junior guard Taylor Diegel scored 15, including four three-point jumpers.

Hunley added eight, Singleton five, Britton three and two points each for Reed Haugh and Ben Colwell.

“It was an unusual season, we've had some ups and downs,” Dodgen said. “We played so well at times, we beat some pretty good teams, and then we lost to some teams we shouldn't have lost to.

“They worked hard, but it was hard to figure them out at times.”

Highlighting the season were sweeps of Clinton, District 3-AAA league runner-up, and traditional 4-AAA power Maryville, plus a home victory against West.

“Almost beat Bearden at Bearden, which is awful tough to do,” Dodgen said.


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