Ads fall to Raptors in title bout
PIGEON FORGE — After struggling out of the gate, Farragut High School’s boys basketball team had won four out of its last five games heading into the championship tilt of the King of the Smokies Christmas Classic.
The Admirals, however, could not continue their winning ways as they came up on the short end of a 61-42 decision against Ravenwood Thursday, Dec. 29, at Pigeon Forge High School.
Farragut head coach Chris Cool didn’t seem too disappointed after losing to the Raptors [12-1 record].
“They’re a good team and I think they came in here 11-1 and we had a chance to play for a tournament championship,” Cool said. “We played and beat two pretty good teams to get here, and tonight we just didn’t have the same focus or same energy that we’ve had in most of our recent games.
“We started 1-4 and then we had won four of our last five coming into tonight and we’d been playing pretty well.”
The Admirals (5-6) fell behind early as they couldn’t find a way to defend Elon Smallwood, a senior guard and one of Ravenwood’s top players.
Smallwood came out hot and scored 14 of the team’s 21 first-quarter points, helping the Raptors open a nine-point lead by stanza’s end. He was, however, absent for much of the second quarter after picking up his second foul midway through the frame.
Ravenwood head coach Patrick Whitlock removed Smallwood from the game and wasn’t all that concerned when his star went to the sideline.
“He got to rest a little bit,” Whitlock said of Smallwood. “He hasn’t rested a whole lot in this tournament.”
After Smallwood departed, Farragut clawed its way back into the game and pulled to within 30-27 by halftime despite committing turnovers and making mistakes.
“We didn’t bring the same focus into this game and I think we might’ve underestimated them a little bit,” said Admirals guard Ethan Sherrill, who scored six points. “In our last game, we had just seven turnovers [in a 45-40 win over Westside of South Carolina Wednesday, Dec. 29] and played what was probably our best game.
“Tonight, we had so many turnovers and it was ridiculous, and they were hitting shots from all over the place. It was just crazy.”
Smallwood led all scorers with 21 points but he received help from junior forward Connor Tudeen, who finished with 20 and buried four 3-point jumpers.
Nick Rogers had 20 points to lead the Admirals, who scored just two points in the third quarter. Those came on a bucket by Sherrill and pulled FHS to within 37-29 with 3:53 left in the frame.