FOUNTAIN CITY — Farragut Middle School girls basketball head coach Devan McIntyre couldn’t hide her excitement after her team advanced to the semifinals of the Knox County Middle School Girls Basketball Tournament.
McIntyre was ecstatic because she felt her team’s hard work in a season altered by the COVID-19 pandemic is really beginning to reap benefits.
“The thing that I’m proudest of with these girls is their work ethic,” McIntyre said after the No. 5 Lady Admirals outlasted the No. 4 Gresham Lady Gladiators 50-43 in a quarterfinal game in North Knoxville Saturday, Jan. 16. “I’m really proud of all of them. I’m proud of them for their hard work all year.
“I feel like all that hard work is really finally starting to pay off.”
The victory didn’t come easily for the Lady Admirals (7-2) and McIntyre, FMS’s second-year head coach said that the game unfolded much like she thought it would.
“Gresham has a good team and they’re well-coached,” she said. “I have a lot of respect for (Lady Gladiators’ coach Kiley Heyward).
“She does a great job and she has some great players. She has Scout (Horner) and Avery Brewer and we knew that they could score and we knew they were going to score. And they scored.”
Indeed, they did.
Brewer had 19 points, while Horner and Paige Branam finished with six for the Lady Gladiators, who hadn’t played in seven weeks before opening tournament play last week with a 39-12 victory at home over Northwest.
The Lady Gladiators, who defeated Farragut earlier in the season, finishes the season with a 7-2 record.
The Lady Admirals had a 39-26 advantage heading into the final quarter but Gresham sliced FMS’s edge to 43-39 when Brewer made a free throw with 1 minute, 42 seconds remaining but Farragut was able to withstand the late surge.
Sydney English scored a game-high 23 points while Annie Priest and Anna Corum scored eight points each for Farragut, which led 14-12 after the opening frame and expanded that edge to 32-20 by halftime.
The win assures the Lady Ads of two more games. A third-place finish in the county tournament will net them a third consecutive trip to the state sectional tournament.