By Steve Williams
Prior to post-season tournament play, Farragut High girls basketball coach Jason Mayfield talked about the obstacles Avery “Ace” Strickland, his senior standout, had been facing and overcoming on the court.
“Ace is the focal point of everyone’s defensive plan and continues to put up big numbers,” he said. “She will be a D1 signee in the spring signing period.”
The 6-foot-1 shooting guard continued to put up the numbers in leading the Lady Admirals to a runner-up finish in the Farragut program’s first trip to the state tournament. One would think she had to have increased her value in the eyes of college recruiters.
Strickland reportedly was extended a scholarship offer by the University of Pittsburgh in January just days after decomitting from West Virginia University.
Had Farragut won the All-Knox County finale at the state instead of rival Bearden, there’s no doubt Strickland would have been the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Ace played that well.
But Bearden did continue its dominance over Farragut and Avery Treadwell, its 6-3 junior post, was very deserving of the MVP award.
Both Averys filled up the stat sheets.
Strickland, in fact, played the full 32 minutes in each of Farragut’s three games.
Ace shot 52.2 percent from the field (24 of 46), 36.4 percent from 3-point range (8 of 22) and made six of her nine free throws. She averaged 20.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and two assists. Her best game was the 31-point, 9-rebound showing against Cookeville in the semifinals.
Treadwell was a terror inside, averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds per game, with almost half of her boards (14 of 33) on the offensive end. She also totaled eight blocked shots. Shooting-wise, she was 17 of 28 from the field (60.7 percent) and 11 of 16 at the line (69 percent).
Avery averaged 25 minutes of playing time and two fouls per game.
Bearden Coach Justin Underwood said Saturday that Treadwell had picked up a new offer from George Washington University, which gives her 11 total offers.
DANDY DUO: Keeleigh Rogers bounced back to have an excellent senior season after missing eight games early. “She was a crucial player for us that can play all five positions when needed,” said Coach Mayfield.
When Keeleigh was sidelined, Ashlyn Sheridan picked up the slack and averaged 14.2 points against “major competition” said Mayfield. At the end of the regular season, the Farragut coach also said “Ashlyn has improved more than any player around in my opinion and has taken her game to the next level.”
KARNS’ COMBO: Karns’ freshmen twins Reese and Rylee Roberts combined during the regular season to average 20 points, nine rebounds, five assists and five steals.
STATE LEADER: Catholic senior center Ella Renfree led the state in blocked shots (113) and was ranked No. 1 in the state as a major rim protector, reported Coach Travis Mains. She also had 13 blocks in one game for a school record.
ON THE MONEY: Emily Wilson, CAK junior, made 78 3-pointers this season, connecting on 40 percent of her attempts behind the arc.
CAREER NIGHT: Catholic sophomore Sydney Mains had a career high game of 36 points this season.
THOUSANDAIRES: Gracie Palmer of Berean Christian School and Powell’s Reagan Trumm finished their prep careers with over 2,000 points.
Three others joined the 1,000-point club: senior Mackenzie Babb of Central, senior Shae Berry of Webb and junior Keira Leffew of CAK. Babb also totaled over 1,000 rebounds in her career.
SOPHOMORE STANDOUTS: Powell Coach John Fisher complimented Alaina Schroeder. “She started every game and was a very good defender,” he said, in addition to averaging 10 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Karns point guard Madison Perren, Hardin Valley’s Gracie Waite and Central’s Cadence Horner each averaged 11 points and seven rebounds.
Perren also averaged two blocked shots per game. Waite twice was in the running for Player of the Week.
Karns’ Abby Harris, a 5-11 power forward, also was among Knox County’s top sophomores.
CARRYING THE LOAD: Grace Christian Coach Tim Smith said his team didn’t have that many wins this season, but he wanted to recognize Lindsey McDaniels and CarleeAdkins for their efforts. McDaniels averaged 10.4 points and 31 minutes on the floor each game, while Adkins averaged 29 minutes and eight points.