Bearden High School boys basketball head coach Jeremy Parrott never takes a District 4-AAA victory lightly, especially one his team captures on the road.
The Bulldogs’ win over Farragut Saturday evening, Jan. 9, didn’t score many style points. But that just didn’t matter all that much.
“Any conference game is tough because everybody knows everybody else so well,” Parrott said after the Bulldogs edged the Admirals 54-49 in the latest chapter of this Kingston Pike rivalry in FHS’s Lynn E. Sexton Gymnasium.
Following a 17-day hiatus over the Holiday Break after Knox County Schools closed campuses and halted all extracurricular activities, including sports, in mid-December due to COVID-19 concerns, “This was our fourth game in five days, and what makes it tough is that it comes after a 17-day layoff,” Parrott said. “You don’t want to go on the road in conference with no prep. That’s just how I feel.”
The Ads (5-5, 3-2), looking for their first victory against the Bulldogs since 2016, hung around the whole game and had several chances to pull even late. Farragut’s last chance came when trailing 52-49: Dillon Atwell missed a 3-point shot with six seconds remaining in the final frame.
Bearden’s A.J. Pruitt, senior wing, grabbed the rebound, got fouled and made both subsequent free throws to salt away a hard-fought victory.
Pruitt scored 22 points in the contest and received some high praise from his coach.
“A.J. is one of the best guards in Knoxville. He’s one of the best players in our confer
ference, and on some nights, I think he’s the best,” Parrott said.
After the two teams slugged through an evenly matched opening frame, with the game knotted 19-19, the Bulldogs had a slim 32-29 advantage by halftime and led 42-39 heading into the final stanza.
And while he had to be disappointed with the final result, Farragut coach Jon Higgins was pleased with his team’s effort.
“I thought we battled hard tonight, but I didn’t think that would ever really be a problem,” Higgins said. “We just didn’t do enough to win the game when we needed to.
“We didn’t do enough both offensively or defensively.”
The Ads definitely had their chances as they had four possessions down the stretch while trailing by just one point.
“I feel like we should be in that position in every game, to take the lead,” Higgins said. “Honestly, Bearden is really tough. They play extremely hard. Coach Parrott does a really good job getting them competing.
“I thought that bothered us early in the game, but as we got more comfortable, we got a little bit better. We can’t afford to have that time where it bothers us.”
The Admirals had three players post double figures in the scoring column.
Ryan Neal led the way with 14 points. Carter Mayfield added 12 and Atwell finished with 11.
Iziha Bredwood scored 11 points for Bearden.