Pietarila, Meade, Garabrandt, Lanman lead the way; 7 Dawgs in finals
MARYVILLE — Four Farragut and West Knox County Region 3-AAA wrestling champions were crowned, while seven others earned runner-up finishes among 17 locals who qualified for this week’s TSSAA Class AAA state tournament in Williamson County.
Farragut’s Zachariah Garabrandt stood tallest in the 138-pound class during the 3-AAA tournament at Maryville High School beginning Friday evening, Feb. 14, and ending Saturday evening, Feb. 15.
This Admiral junior joined three fellow champs: Bearden Bulldog junior Matheson Meade at 152, third-place state finisher last season, and BHS sophomore Blake Lanman at 113 — plus Hardin Valley Academy senior Josh Pietarila at 170, a two-time state runner-up.
Avery “Ace” Strickland, Farragut sophomore wing, drives baseline on a Bearden defender. The Lady Bulldogs pulled off a season sweep of the Lady Ads with a 53-42 win Friday night, Feb. 14, in FHS’s Lynn E. Sexton Gymnasium.
Bearden High School’s girls basketball team was able to check off one of its season goals Friday night.
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.”
Carter Mayfield, Farragut sophomore point guard (14), looks to set up the Admirals offense against Bulldog Izaiha Bredwood.
Despite seeing his team struggle at times, Bearden boys basketball head coach Jeremy Parrott was pleased Friday night.
“I’m really proud of my team,” Parrott said after the Bulldogs closed out the regular season with a 61-46 District 4-AAA victory over rival Farragut at a packed Lynn E. Sexton Gymnasium Feb. 14. “We’ve won 21 ball games and a lot of people can’t say that.
“They especially can’t say that after they had to replace 100 percent of their offense,” he added.
“But now, the real season starts and we’ll have to see what we can do there.”
Bearden (21-7 overall, 12-2 in District 4-AAA) will host the district tournament and be the No. 2 seed and have an automatic bid to the Region 2-AAA Tournament in its quest to defend its Class AAA State Championship.
But the Bulldogs had to gut this one out against the Admirals (14-15, 6-8), who had a 41-40 lead heading into the fourth quarter despite getting nothing from leading scorer Robby Geron, who was saddled with early foul trouble.
HARDIN VALLEY — Wins have been hard to get for Hardin Valley Academy over the last two seasons. But the Lady Hawks nabbed a pair of home victories late last week to close out the regular season on a high note.
Hardin Valley celebrated Senior Night Thursday, Feb. 13, with a 78-72 non-district win over Clinton.
The Lady Hawks found themselves down 14-11 late in the first quarter before getting a spark off the bench from Avery Laugherty. She entered the game and promptly knocked down three consecutive 3-point shots to close the opening frame, after which the Lady Hawks had a 20-14 lead.
Hardin Valley would build a 20-point lead in the second stanza and wouldn’t trail again.
The fourth quarter had its share of anxious moments as the Lady Dragons make a fierce comeback attempt. Clinton closed its deficit to 76-72 with 7.4 seconds remaining in the contest.
B.J. Edwards, sophomore star guard for the Knoxville Catholic High School Fighting Irish boys basketball team, has been named one of three Division II-AA Mr. Basketball Finalists.
SMYRNA — The West Valley Middle School boys basketball team concluded the 2019-20 season on a winning note Saturday afternoon, Feb. 15, in the TMSAA State Tournament.
The Wolves routed Knox Doss Middle School from Hendersonville 52-28 in the third-place game at Stewarts Creek Middle School, culminating a big week.
WVMS becomes the second consecutive Knox County team to finish third in the state tournament. Powell Middle accomplished the feat last season, which was the first campaign where Knoxville teams participated in the state tournament.
West Valley had to answer an early wake-up call Saturday after playing a late tilt against Memphis-Ridgeway Friday night.
HARDIN VALLEY — Hardin Valley Academy boys basketball head coach Shane Chambers said that he knew exactly what his team would see when Clinton came calling last week.
He and the Hawks saw a team in the Dragons who make a habit out of launching shots from beyond the 3-point arc.
The Dragons knocked down 13 three-point shots and left HVA with a 67-60 victory Thursday, Feb 13.
“We knew their gameplan coming in. We knew that they were going to shoot 3’s,” Chambers said. “But we just didn’t do a good job defending them.
“You can’t give a team like that confidence on the road. Unfortunately, we gave them that confidence. We just need to play better,” he added.