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No state for FHS girls despite quick start

Farragut senior post Hayley Newby (blue) tries to dribble through a pair of Science Hill defenders.- Bart Nave Photography/
JOHNSON CITY — Farragut got the near-perfect start required to win a state sectional contest on the road.

It wasn’t enough, however, against a second-half Science Hill blitz that produced a 68-52 Lady Hilltopper win in sectional play at SHHS Saturday, March 5.

The Lady Admirals’ season ends 27-7, one win short of a Class AAA state tournament berth for the third time in six years.

Near flawless Farragut offensive execution and solid defense against the nervous home team produced seven straight lay-up attempts early. The result was a 9-0 FHS lead lead less than four minutes in.

Meanwhile, Science Hill missed its first six shots before a lay-up at the 3:15 mark led to a tie game after one quarter.

Hayley Newby’s 13 first-half points paced the Lady Ads to a 27-27 tie at halftime. Newby, senior post and District 4-AAA co-MVP, ended with a team-high 20.

“I asked the team at halftime if they would have known last June they’d be tied in the sectional game at halftime, and possibly be going to the state tournament, would they have taken it?” Farragut head coach Wes Edmonds said.

“Hayley [Newby] was superb in the first half, and I thought we did pretty well in the first half guarding them a certain way.”

An Anna Brinson field goal put FHS up 32-28, but a 7-0 Science Hill run gave the Lady ’Toppers the lead for good.

Brinson added a trey, but an 11-1 run by the Hilltoppers — while holding Newby scoreless in the third quarter — produced an 11-point advantage going to the fourth.

“We had a couple of defensive breakdowns,” Edmonds said about the last few minutes of the third. “We double down a couple of times when we shouldn’t have and they hit some big threes.”

In the fourth quarter, Science Hill went inside to Enjelica Reid, whose quickness around the basket was no match for Lady Admiral defenders.

Reid led all scorers with 22 points. “She’s a tough match-up inside,” Edmonds said. “She made a lot of great plays.”

Edmonds said the fourth-quarter deficit forced the issue for his team. Turning up the defensive pressure on the Lady ’Toppers created a few of Science Hill’s 23 turnovers on the night, but also turned the pace of the game in the home team’s favor.

“Once they got up a little bit, then we had to gamble more defensively,” Edmonds said. “Then the game becomes their style, and when we’re not successful with the press, they get a lot of easy shots.”

Science Hill eventually led by as many as 23 at 67-44.

Newby and fellow seniors Katie Cargo and Jessica Griswold (combining for 19 points) were unable to lead FHS to its first-ever state tournament.

Newby corralled five rebounds a grabbed two steals while Cargo dished out four assists and made three thefts.

Griswold added four rebounds, three assists and two steals.

“They are a real special bunch,” Edmonds said “They’ve played a lot when they were sophomores and have been a big part of what we’ve done the last two years.

“As great as they are on the floor, they’re even better off,” he added. “They are great people and will do great things.

“The last two years, and this year in particular, have been a lot of fun.”


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