Sports

Special bond: 8th-grade FMS girls, McIntyre

While all Farragut Middle School girls varsity basketball players are valued by head coach Devan McIntyre — this season’s eighth-graders “are really, really special to me.

“I guess you can tell how I feel based on my emotions. ... The eighth-graders now were the sixth-graders when I started here,” added the third-year Lady Admirals head coach, fighting back tears just after FMS celebrated 8th Grade Evening in the school’s Bobby Henry Gymnasium Tuesday, Jan. 4 — the team’s final regular season home game for the coach’s eight 8th-graders: Anna Corum, Brylee Flatt, Gracie King, Lilly Mullins, Julia Puterbaugh, Audrey Rust and Annie Steele, along with team manager Ella Schlomer.

“I feel like we’ve built a winning tradition together. They’ve all worked extremely hard,” she added.

This season is evidence of that, as a 62-7 FMS win against Northwest Middle School Jan. 4 improved the team’s record to 14-4 overall and 11-2 in the Knox County Middle School Basketball League standings.

“In terms of (League Division) AAA for tournament seating, we’re in first (place) right now,” McIntyre said. “Other teams have lost just two, but we’ve won the head-to-heads against those other teams.

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One of just 50 in nation, Warrior Network earns prestigious club entry

KNOXVILLE — Christian Academy of Knoxville’s Warrior Network, a student-led broadcasting team, has been named to the National Federation of State High School Association’s Network Founders Club.

“This is a big honor, as CAK is among only 50 schools nationwide to be named to the NFHS Founder’s Club, an honor acknowledging the Warrior Network’s impact on the (Founder’s) network streaming over 1 million events since its inception in 2008,” a school press release stated.

“When we started the NFHS Network, we knew there was a significant demand for a platform like ours,” PlayOn! Sports CEO and founder David Rudolph stated in the press release.

“High schools have some of the most passionate fans in all of sports, and they covet the ability to cheer on the student-athletes and schools they support when they cannot physically be in attendance. Our Founder’s Club represents some of our company’s biggest champions and will continue to be integral to our growth.”

“We at the Warrior Network are honored to be acknowledged among the 50 schools that played a part in hitting the NFHS 1 million streamed events milestone,” Warrior Network teacher John Sessoms said.

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Rigorous slate of foes toughen Bearden players

According to Bearden High School’s boys basketball head coach Jeremy Parrott, his team has, thus far, faced the toughest Class 4A schedule in the state of Tennessee. His source is the website coacht.com.

But Parrott is fine with that. He’s convinced the preparation it has given his squad will pay off the rest of the season.

“Challenging, I’ll say that,” he said of his team’s 12-5 record entering this week. “It’s like I always say: you can play whoever you want in the regular season. If it’s not preparing you for the postseason and exposing some of your weaknesses, you’re probably not playing who you need to. It’s been challenging, but it’s been rewarding because we have some quality wins in there as well.”

One of the Bulldogs’ highlight games was a 67-58 overtime loss to Berkmar High School (Georgia) at the 38th Annual Arby’s Classic in Bristol just before New Year’s. The Bulldogs led by two with 14 seconds left. Berkmar is one of the nation’s top high-school teams.

“We were a free throw and a rebound away from beating them,” Parrott said. “It would have been a really, really nice win in that tournament. The losses are gone. But that’s one you’d like to have back.”

Parrott thinks his team strengths have been unselfish ball movement and balanced contributions.

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Beating nation’s No. 3 team highlights BHS girls’ season

At 15-3 overall and 1-0 in District 4-4A entering this week, Bearden High School’s girls’ basketball team has every reason to feel confident about the rest of the regular season and postseason.

A major factor in the Lady Bulldogs’ success has been leadership from their experienced players, according to head coach Justin Underwood.

“Our veteran leadership between our five seniors has been fantastic,” Underwood said. “Their work ethic, their amount of time in the gym has been a great example to our younger kids. As far as our juniors and seniors as a whole, their unselfishness has been a strength for us. Every single starter has been a leading scorer.”

“We’ve had some very challenging games,” he added. “We’ve had a lot of our games on the road. We’ve definitely been tested away from home, and against some really good competition.”

Two of those challenging games came in Florida during the Christmas break when Bearden first beat MonteVerde Academy (Florida) 83-79. According to one poll, MonteVerde was the No. 3 team in the nation at the time.

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