One and done: Duncan can’t explain season-ending loss
By Grant Ramey | (email@example.com)
Heritage couldn’t carry over the momentum from its Senior Night win over South-Doyle. The Mountaineers couldn’t carry over the momentum from their last meeting with Farragut, either.
Instead, the visiting, fifth-seeded Admirals pulled away early for a 68-48 win to open the District 4-AAA tournament over eighth-seeded Heritage, eliminating the host Mountaineers from the tournament and ending Billy Duncan’s first season as head coach.
DeMarcus Martin had a game-high 20 for Farragut (12-14), Billy Williams added 16 and Brian Park scored 15 to help the Admirals advance to a second round matchup against No. 4 Catholic (14-13).
Farragut nearly doubled its point production the last time the two teams met,a much closer 35-32 Admirals win in Knoxville on Jan 29.
Duncan tried to explain the lack of defense this time around, but couldn’t come up with a reason.
“I wish I had a simple answer for you,” Duncan told The Daily Times. “The truth of the fact is that might’ve been the worst defensive job, effort, that we’ve had.
“And I don’t understand (it). Hours of preparation, they knew what they wanted to do, and we spend hours on defense. And that might be our worst defensive performance.
“I don’t have that answer. It put me in shock. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. And it wasn’t indicative of how we play.”
On the offensive end, Heritage (2-23) was led by Jordan Bryant’s 14 points. Shawn Wilson-Smith had 9 on three 3-pointers and Jessie Huff scored 8.
“They had everything in the world going for them, play at home,” Duncan said of his team, who’s playing host to the district tournament. “And we were playing well last week, taking games to the wire.
“Then we come out here and simple rotations didn’t happen. And I have no answer why. You ask them and they don’t know.”
Any momentum that might’ve came from Heritage’s 34-33 win over South-Doyle to end the regular season didn’t translate to Tuesday night’s game.
Duncan’s team jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but Farragut went on a 13-3 run from there before taking a 19-11 lead to start the second quarter. The Admirals stretched the lead to 36-22 at the half.
“(Farragut) just executed and we did a poor job defensively,” Duncan said, “and that’s the end result when that happens. We don’t ever give up stuff like that. Ever. Ever.
“That (68) points (given up) is unbelievably uncommon for us. They’ve come so far from where they were, it’s just stunning that it happened like that.”
Duncan has stressed since taking over the program that he’s rebuilding it from the ground up. Despite the two-win season, he said his program is on its way.
“They’re on the right track, they really are,” he said. “They’ve bought in, they’ve worked hard. We start four kids that have never played high school basketball before, going through this district.
“I’ll be honest, (tonight) was hurtful. I’m very disappointed for them.”
With his first season in the books, Duncan said the rebuilding work continues into the offseason.
“It’s now time to roll our sleeves up and go to work,” Duncan said. “We’ve really got a lot of work to do. But I think we’ve got our foot in the door, it’s just going to take a lot of work, a lot of effort.
“We’re headed in the right direction.”