The Lady Bulldogs outlasted Farragut 53-42 and that victory wasn’t only a win in one of Knox County’s most intense high school girls basketball rivalries, — it clinched an outright District 4-AAA regular-season championship before a packed and spirited house at FHS’s Lynn E. Sexton Gymnasium Feb. 14.
“For six straight years, we’ve either won or shared the district championship,” BHS head coach Justin Underwood said. “And you saw how our kids acted after the game. This is always a season goal of ours and this is really important to them.
“We knew that we were going to the region, no matter what happened tonight, but it’s always a goal for us to win the district.”
The Lady Bulldogs (25-2 overall, 13-1 in the district) will
be the top seed as they host the district tournament. They won’t play again until Friday, Feb. 21.
But the Lady Admirals (20-8, 10-4) made things tough for Bearden on this night. FHS’s post duo of Avery “Ace” Strickland and Claire Wyatt outscored Bearden’s Jakhyia Davis and Avery Treadwell 32-12.
“Anytime you do that, you feel pretty good and think you have a good chance to win,” Farragut head coach Jason Mayfield said. “But unfortunately for us, they had some guards who made plays.”
Wyatt, who went over 1,000 points for her high school career, scored 18 points. Strickland, a sophomore, had 14 points.
Davis and Treadwell managed just six points each but the Lady Bulldogs got substantial contributions from their guards down the stretch. They also held Farragut to one field goal over the final eight minutes.
“Our defense was great,” Underwood said. Anytime you hold a team like that to one field goal in the fourth quarter, you have to be happy about that. Strickland can score and Claire can score and they both made plays.”
Emily Gonzalez scored 11 points for BHS, as did Zneyah McLaugh Jah’niya Bussell added 10 points and made four clutch free throws down the stretch. Emma Stone had nine points on the strength of three 3-pointers before halftime.
“This is a rivalry game and we knew that we were going to have to come in here and play good defense and ... share the basketball,” McLaughlin said