Ads rebound from close loss to destroy LC Panthers

For the second time in as many games, Farragut High School boys basketball head coach Jon Higgins saw his team let a win slip away.

The Admirals led for more than 31-and-a-half minutes in its game against Knoxville Catholic Friday night, Jan. 19.

But late mistakes cost the Admirals, losing 44-42 to the Irish in a District 4-AAA tilt in FHS’s Lynn E. Sexton Gymnasium.

“I preach all the time about making winning plays, and tonight we didn’t make those plays,” Higgins said. “Hopefully, sooner or later, we’ll learn to make those winning plays.

“It was the same thing against Maryville [in a 48-46 road loss Friday, Jan. 12]. But this one was worse. In that game, we did everything right except make free throws. Tonight, we didn’t do anything right. We have to get better down the stretch.”

The Admirals (10-11 overall, 4-7 in district starting the week) didn’t have to be great down the stretch at Lenoir City in 4-AAA action one night later, Saturday, Jan. 20.

Holding the Panthers (8-14, 2-9) without a field goal for more than eight minutes in the first half, the Ads scored 30 points in the third quarter to open up a 52-24 cushion.

Farragut won 67-35 to avenge a last-second home loss to LCHS Nov. 28. Chris Dalton, FHS senior guard, led all scorers with 14. Tharrin Shuler, Ads senior wing, had 11.

Back to Friday, Catholic’s Ryan MacDonald converted two turnovers into layups, which knotted the game 40-40 with 1:04 to play.

The Ads regained the lead when Dalton made a pair of free throws with 32.4 seconds left.

But Catholic senior guard Jack Sompayrac was the hero.

Sompayrac, who scored a game-high 19 points for the Irish (15-2, 8-2), converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 24.5 seconds to go, giving his team a 43-42 lead.

Brock Jancek would make a free throw providing the final Irish margin before Farragut missed a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.

“These guys just know how to win close ballgames,” Catholic head coach Mike Hutchens said.

Trevion Moreno, Farragut senior post, scored 11 points.

“We’ve played six or seven of them and it’s the third time this year that we’ve gone down to the wire and the other team had the ball.”