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Traps, ‘towers’ trip Ads
Irish big duo, defense key tourney victory

MARYVILLE — Thirty-nine was the magic number the last time Farragut faced Knoxville Catholic — Blake Williams’ career-high 39 points leading to a huge Admirals win.

Thirty-nine again was the magic number in an Irish-FHS clash, this one Friday night: No. 3-seeded KCHS held the entire Ads team to 39 points while Williams made just one basket.

Learning a hard lesson from a regular season loss at FHS, Catholic used a double-team trap on Williams limiting the FHS playmaker to just eight points in a 51-39 KCHS District 4-AAA Tournament quarterfinal win Feb. 18, at William Blount High School.

“The thing that drove us crazy the most was the doubling of Blake,” said FHS head coach Chris Cool, whose No. 6 seeded Ads finishes the season 15-14. “I tip my hat to coach [Mike] Hutchens, he did a great job doing that. … He had a good gameplan, threw us for a loop for a half.”

Hutchens said his team “played great defense, adding about Williams, “There was a ninth-grader [Vic Wharton] guarding him. That's a special ninth-grader, Vic Wharton, he can play.”

About the traps, “We felt like we had to get the ball out of his hands all we could,” Hutchens said. “If you keep it in his hands, you saw what he did last time.”

Taylor Diegel, FHS senior wing who scored six points and had three blocks and a handful of steals, said about the double team on Williams, “We didn't expect that at all, that's the first time we'd seen it all year. That just kinda hurt our offense. Blake's been running it.”

Despite poor perimeter shooting (2-of-19 on three-point tries), Catholic's twin tower posts — 6-foot-8 Joey Bodewig and 6-foot-6 Philip Stephens — both hit the boards for key offensive rebound baskets and post-up points.

Bodewig scored 12 and Stephens and All-District honoree, 10. “Kinda what we were wanting to do was make them shoot outside shots because we couldn't really stop the inside game,” Cool said.

Bodewig said “inside is our strength ... inside-out, that's how we play the game,” adding his high-post, low-post passing with Stephens “is really effective.”

Catholic (20-8) received a team-high 13 points from senior guard Matt Cox, as the Irish led 19-9 at halftime. “In the first half, our guys were like a deer in the headlights, they didn't know what to do,” Cool said.

DeMarcus Martin led FHS with 13 points. Reed Haugh scored five, Craig Leuthold three and Preston Spalding and Will Park two each.

Kyle Anders ended with nine for Catholic. Lucas Branch scored four and Wharton three points.

Farragut seniors are Diegel, Leuthold, Will Park, Shadi Murfiq and Gabe Sexton.

A starting post, “Will Park played on a groin tear for a month-and-a-half. I told him in the locker room how proud I was of him for sucking it up and doing that,” Cool said.

Park credited former FHS head coach Donald Dodgen for “a tradition he established for a long time.” Under Cool, “To finish like we did and play hard every night, I was pretty proud of our effort,” Park added.

Leuthold said he “enjoyed the season, I had fun.”

For his career, Diegel said, “I had a great time — my senior year especially with a new coach, coach Cool,” Diegel said. “It's been a great experience. I'm glad I was able to do it.”


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