BlueJackets boys basketball on the rise

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After suffering two losses to highly ranked teams in the middle of December, the BlueJackets (8-7) have recovered in a large way, stringing together five wins over their last six contests. Three of those wins have been against district opponents to help Farragut improve to 5-3 in the Class 3A, District 8 standings.

Defense has been instrumental over this stretch as the BlueJackets have held opponents to an average of 41 points per game. In addition, the bench has helped stem the absence of leading scorer Cross Meehan ’17, who sprained his ankle on Jan. 17 during Farragut’s 54-36 victory over Saint Stephen’s Episcopal.

“We’ve definitely grown throughout the season,” said head coach Hernan Roldan, who is in his second season with Farragut. “Last year, we kind of got baptized by fire and we had some tough losses. We had most of the roster return and then we added some key pieces to this year’s squad that have helped in a big way.”

One key to the turnaround has been North Carolina-native Andreas Fuller ’18 , who moved to St. Petersburg and is a day student. He was ranked as one of the top freshmen in the Tar Heel State before transferring to Farragut for his sophomore year.

“Dre brings that 1-2 punch along with Cross that we needed,” Roldan said. “He’s a 6-5 point guard who can do it all – shoot, slash to the basket, rebound, find the open man, defend on the perimeter. With Cross, who is a quality shooter and has that mental toughness, the two of them give us that dynamic we were missing last year.”

Cross, a 5-11 shooting guard, is a seven-day boarder from Massachusetts who has thrived at Farragut since arriving here for his freshman year.

“I love it here,” said Cross, who is averaging a little over 20 points per game. “The school is great and our team has really come together this year. Having a teammate like Dre has helped a lot. He’s an unselfish player who has made all of us better.”

After playing non-district for Academy at the Lakes on Thursday, Farragut hosts league leader Calvary Christian (12-6, 7-1) on Friday. The BlueJackets lost to the Warriors 68-57 in the second game of the season back on December 1.

“We’re a much different team than we were back then so it will be interesting to see how we do,” Roldan said.

Following the contest against the Warriors, Farragut will play against league foes in three straight games.

“These will be big games for us because we want to finish in the top three heading into the postseason,” Cross said. “Not only will it set us up for where we’re seeded, it will also show other teams, especially Calvary and Shorecrest (9-8, 6-1), that we have what it takes to advance.”

Remaining schedule: Thursday at Academy at the Lakes; Friday vs. Calvary Christian; Tuesday at Northside Christian; Jan. 21 at St. Petersburg Catholic; Jan. 22 at Indian Rocks Christian; Jan. 26 at Osceola High; Jan. 29 vs. North Broward Prep (final home game); District tournament Feb. 2-6 at St. Petersburg Catholic

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