KNOXVILLE — In a loud, raucous environment with each team’s season on the line, it was a classic game between bitter rivals.
In the semifinal round of the TSSAA Region 2-4A Girls’ Basketball Tournament Monday, Feb. 27, at Bearden High School, the Lady Dawgs stayed unbeaten at 33-0 — winning its 55th straight game spanning two seasons — by holding off upset-minded Farragut 50-44. BHS will host Heritage for the regional title Wednesday, March 1 (after deadline).
“They had a great game plan,” Lady Dawgs head coach Justin Underwood said of FHS. “Farragut did a great job of getting us out of our normal routine. In the second half we started gaining a little confidence.”
“We didn’t do the little things down the stretch, especially when you continue to miss box-outs and free throws,” Lady Admirals head coach Jason Mayfield said.
A 5-0 run late in the first gave Bearden a 12-9 lead after one. The teams traded baskets in the second, and thanks to an 8-4 finish by FHS, Bearden went into the half with a lead of only one, 24-23.
Finishing 22-11, Farragut built a 28-26 lead with 4:42 left in the third. The teams then traded scoring runs, and a buzzer-beating trey by Lily Mullins gave FHS a 35-34 lead after three.
Bearden’s team leader — senior post Avery Treadwelll — hit a lay-up with 7:10 left in the game to give BHS a 38-36 lead. From there, Farragut would get only six free throws on 11 attempts until four seconds left, when senior Maelyn McNealy’s layup was too late.
Kendall Anne Murphy’s four straight points in the middle of the quarter gave Bearden a 43-38 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Treadwell was called for her fourth foul with 6:23 left in the game, and was then hit with a technical, finishing her for the night.
Even without playing most of the fourth, Treadwell led all scorers with 16. Guard Natalya Hodge got 11 and Murphy added 10 for BHS.“I didn’t expect Avery to foul out. but we pushed through it,” Murphy said.
Maelyn McNealy, senior wing, scored 11 for the Lady Ads in her final game. “They (teammates) have helped me grow as a person and player, and I’m thankful for that,” she said.
Said FHS senior guard Annalise Bishop: “I’ve grown as a person. I love Farragut High School.”
“I have loved getting close to the girls and playing the game I love,” Farragut senior post Anna Margaret Pitts said.
“Privileged to be their coach,” Mayfield said. “Great kids, they do things the right way.”