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FMS girls claim title, top seed
Swartzentruber’s boys earn No. 4 seed after whipping Northwest

The leading scorer came through with clutch baskets Thursday evening, and the girl whose motor hardly ever stops wasn’t letting up on “50-50” balls.

Behind 20 points from post Kristen Freeman and lots of hustle from guard Annie McMurry, Farragut’s girls beat Northwest 38-32 Jan. 31 to claim the Knox County Schools Middle School Basketball League regular season title and top seed for the upcoming county tourney.

Farragut’s boys made it a sweep at FMS, earning head coach Randy Swartzentruber’s team a No. 4 tourney seed (More on FMS Boys later in story).

Admitting his girls’ victory culminated a personal milestone — winning his first championship in three seasons as FMS Girls head coach — Chris Cavalaris said his team “played really hard and they deserve to win. In the second half, they pulled it out.

“Really gutted it out. I'm proud of them.”

Finishing 12-1 in league following the team’s final regular season game at FMS, 13-5 overall, the Lady Admirals earn a bye and will open tourney play Saturday at Karns Middle School versus the winner of No. 8 seed against No. 9.

About Freeman, Cavalaris said, “Whenever we've needed her, she's stepped up in the biggest games as well.”

Forward Miranda Burt scored 11 points and also earned praise from Cavalaris.

“Miranda Burt had a lot of hustle plays,” he said. “She was always first downcourt.”

As for McMurry’s effort, “Annie had a lot of hustle plays, went after 50-50 balls, and didn't get beat up,” Cavalaris said. “Lately, she hasn't scored that much, but she's been a leader on our team both on and off the court.”

Guard Lexi Williams didn’t score, but “played one of her better games,” doing an especially good job at “making the smart pass, not the high risk-reward pass,” Cavalaris said.

Anna Woodford scored five points and Gracie Mabry two for Farragut’s girls.

Defensively, FMS held the Lady Rangers scoreless for more than six minutes in the first half before using a 19-point third quarter to pull away.

“We threw a couple of different looks at them just trying to mix it up,” Cavalaris said. “The defense moved really well, didn't overcommit. Had really good help-side defense.”

Northwest dropped to 11-5 overall, 8-5 in league play.

As No. 4 seed, Farragut’s boys open tourney play at 4:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 4, hosting No. 13 seed Cedar Bluff. Winner advances into Saturday’s quarterfinals at KMS.

Semifinals for both girls and boys are Tuesday, Feb. 8, at KMS, the location for championship games set for Thursday, Feb. 10.

The FMS boys (9-7 overall, 9-4 in league) struggled early with Northwest’s edge in quickness, but settled down in the second half to grab a 40-32 decision.

“They beat us to the loose balls,” Swartzentruber said, adding Monday’s effort represented his team’s third consecutive slow start.

However, “In the second half we came out and got after it a little bit.”

Fifteen points from eighth-grade post Dylan Jackson fueled the Admirals’ offense.

Jackson, the team’s leading scorer this season according to Swartzentruber, “uses his body well ... he's so big he gets rebounds and puts them back in.

“I thought Drew Driscoll came in, I thought he handled the ball real well, played under control,” Swartzentruber added. “I thought he played pretty well.”

In the third quarter, a pair of three-point jumpers from guard Sam Cargo helped the Ads overcome an 18-16 halftime deficit.

Cargo and post Will Doerger ended with six points each, followed by Alex Long and Ty Allen with three, Josh Powell, Carson Strickland and Jackson Bowdle two each and Ben Dunn one point.

Northwest fell to 5-10, 3-10.


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